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HISTORY  OF  THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 
IN  WORLD  WAR  II 


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Copyright  1948  by  Infantry  Journal  Inc. 


All  rights  reserved.  No  portion  of  this  book  may  be  reproduced 
j,  in  any  form  without  permission.  For  information  address  Infantry 

Journal   Press,    1115    17th   Street   NW,   Washington   6,  D.C. 


First  Edition 


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IN  HUMBLE  GRATITUDE  TO  THOSE  SOLDIERS 
OF  THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 
WHO  GAVE  THEIR  LIVES  FOR  THEIR  COUNTRY 


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CONTENTS 


DIVISION  COMMANDER'S  MESSAGE   xi 

FOREWORD    xiii 

PART  ONE:  THE  UNITED  STATES 

Chapter    1:  IN  THE  BEGINNING   1 

PART  TWO:  THE  UNITED  KINGDOM 

Chapter    2:  AT  SEA    10 

Chapter    3:  WILTSHIRE  COUNTY    13 

PART  THREE:  FRANCE 

Chapter    4:  THE  SITUATION    18 

Chapter    5:  CROSSING  AND  COMMITMENT   23 

Chapter    6:  THE  POCKETS    27 

Chapter    7:  THE  FFI    33 

Chapter    8:  OPERATIONS  IN  BRITTANY   38 

Chapter    9:  POW  EXCHANGES    57 

Chapter  10:  THE  BRETONS    65 

Chapter  11:  ADIEU    69 

PART  FOUR:  GERMANY:  THE  SAAR-MOSELLE  TRIANGLE 

Chapter  12:  THE  WESTERN  FRONT   79 

Chapter  13:  TETTINGEN-BUTZDORF    84 

Chapter  14:  NENNIG-BERG-WIES    99 

Chapter  15:  TETTINGEN  COUNTERATTACK    117 

Chapter  16:  ORSHOLZ    132 

Chapter  17:  THE  302d  MOVES  UP   139 

Chapter  18:  NENNIG  COUNTERATTACK    149 

Chapter  19:  SINZ    159 

Chapter  20:  INTERIM    177 

Chapter  21:  CAMPHOLZ  WOODS    185 

Chapter  22:  SINZ-BANNHOLZ  ATTACK    196 

Chapter  23:  SECOND  BANNHOLZ    214 

Chapter  24:  BANNHOLZ-ADENHOLZ    218 

Chapter  25:  PILLBOXES  151,  152,  153   231 

Chapter  26:  SHOOT  THE  WORKS!   239 

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Chapter  27:  FEBRUARY  19,  1945:  INITIAL  OBJECTIVES   244 

Chapter  28:  FEBRUARY  19,  1945:  SECOND  OBJECTIVES   254 

Chapter  29:  REDUCTION  OF  THE  TRIANGLE   265 

PART  FIVE:  GERMANY:  ACROSS  THE  SAAR 

Chapter  30:  THE  BRIDGEHEAD    283 

Chapter  31:  THE  SECOND  DAY   301 

Chapter  32:  THE  THIRD  DAY   309 

Chapter  33:  THE  FOURTH  AND  FIFTH  DAYS   317 

Chapter  34:  THE  FIGHT  FOR  THE  HILLTOPS   328 

Chapter  35:  CT  376    340 

Chapter  36:  LAMPADEN  RIDGE    365 

Chapter  37:  RESTORING  THE  BRIDGEHEAD   388 

PART  SIX:  GERMANY:  THE  RACE  TO  THE  RHINE 

Chapter  38:  OUT  OF  THE  BRIDGEHEAD   400 

Chapter  39:  PUSH  TO  THE  EAST   412 

Chapter  40:  THE  PURSUIT    421 

Chapter  41:  LUDWIGSHAFEN    432 

PART  SEVEN:  GERMANY:  OCCUPATION 

Chapter  42:  KREFELD    449 

Chapter  43:  D0SSELDORF    467 

PART  EIGHT:  CZECHOSLOVAKIA 
Chapter  44:  OCCUPATION    489 

PART  NINE:  APPENDIX 

DECORATIONS    505 

BATTLE  HONORS    511 

ANTECEDENT  HISTORY  OF  THE  94th  DIVISION   512 

DIVISION  COMMAND  POSTS   515 

DIVISION  ASSIGNMENTS    516 

ATTACHMENTS    516 

REDEPLOYMENT  INFORMATION  AND  INACTIVATION  DATES.   518 

THE  COMMANDERS    519 

GLOSSARY    525 

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MAPS 


ROUTE  FROM  THE  UNITED  KINGDOM  TO  BRITTANY   22 

LORIENT  POCKET    40 

ST.  NAZAIRE  POCKET   41 

DIVISION  ZONE  AND  FRONT  LINE,  NOVEMBER  30,  1944   53 

ROUTE  FROM  BRITTANY  TO  REIMS  STAGING  AREA   74 

EXTENT  OF  VON  RUNDSTEDTS  WINTER  OFFENSIVE   78 

ROUTE  FROM  REIMS  STAGING  AREA  TO  SIEGFRIED  SWITCH  LINE   80 

SIEGFRIED  SWITCH  POSITION   90 

COUNTERATTACK  OF  THE  4  16th  REPLACEMENT  BATTALION   96 

THE  11th  PANZER  DIVISION  S  FIRST  COUNTERATTACK   122 

THE  11th  PANZER  DIVISION'S  ATTACK  OF  JANUARY  20,  1945   142 

THE  11TH  PANZER  DIVISION'S  ATTACKS  ON  JANUARY  21  AND 

JANUARY  22    150 

THE  DIVISION  FRONT,  JANUARY  31,  1945   178 

THE  302D  INFANTRY'S  OPERATIONS  IN  CAMPHOLZ  WOODS   186 

TOPOGRAPHIC  STUDY  OF  THE  SINZ  AREA   198 

ATTACK  OF  THE  2d  BATTALION,  376th,  IN  BANNHOLZ  WOODS   220 

FALL  OF  THE  TRIANGLE,  FEBRUARY  19-21,  1945   264 

THE  SAAR  BRIDGEHEAD,  FEBRUARY  22,  1945   290 

THE  SAAR  BRIDGEHEAD,  FEBRUARY  24-26,  1945    322 

THE  SAAR  BRIDGEHEAD,  FEBRUARY  27  TO  MARCH  2,  1945    334 

THE  376th  BRIDGEHEAD,  FEBRUARY  22  TO  MARCH  2,  1945   358 

THE  DIVISION  FRONT  PRIOR  TO  THE  ATTACK  OF  THE  6th  SS  MOUN- 
TAIN DIVISION    364 

THE  ATTACK  AGAINST  LAMPADEN  RIDGE   376 

THE  ROUTE  FROM  THE  SAAR  BRIDGEHEAD  TO  THE  RHINE   422 

THE  FALL  OF  LUDWIGSHAFEN   440 

THE  ROUTE  FROM  BAUMHOLDER  TO  WILLICH   448 

THE  SITUATION  AS  OF  APRIL  3,  1945   452 

DOSSELDORF  OCCUPATION  ZONE,  APRIL  25,  1945   468 

THE  ROUTE  FROM  DtiSSELDORF  TO  CZECHOSLOVAKIA   488 

CZECHOSLOVAKIAN  OCCUPATION  ZONE,  JUNE  17,  1945   491 

CZECHOSLOVAKIA^  OCCUPATION  ZONE,  JUNE  17  TO  SEPTEMBER  14, 

1945    492 

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To  the  Men  of  the  94th  Infantry  Division: 

Two  years  have  passed  since  the  occurence  of  the  events  recorded 
in  this  history.  They  have  been  years  during  which  most  of  us  have 
been  happy  to  forget  many  of  the  desperate  encounters  which  we  must 
re-live  in  these  pages. 

The  deep  sense  of  comradeship  and  devotion  to  a  common  cause  for 
which  many  of  our  friends  laid  down  their  lives  or  suffered  terrible 
wounds,  are  far  too  valuable  in  these  troubled  postwar  days  to  be 
neglected.  The  qualities  of  manhood  upon  which  they  were  based  are 
the  qualities  our  people  always  seek.  You  who  led  confidently  in  war 
must  just  as  confidently  lead  in  peace. 

For  the  Division,  I  want  to  extend  our  thanks  to  the  authors  who 
have  worked  on  this  volume.  Lieutenant  Laurence  G.  Byrnes,  who 
was  unlucky  enough  to  draw  the  job  of  putting  it  in  its  final  form,  has 
worked  hard  and  diligently,  and  I  hope  this  may  be  appreciated. 

It  may  seem  to  many  of  you,  that  the  volume  concentrates  on  the  -  * 
accomplishments  of  the  Infantry  to  a  certain  degree  of  exclusion  of 
the  supporting  arms.  Still  you  must  remember  that  the  accomplish- 
ments of  the  Cavalry,  Antitank,  Artillery,  Engineer,  Signal,  Quarter- 
master, Ordnance,  Medical  and  other  units  are  measured  in  the  progress 
of  the  Infantry. 

I  earnestly  hope  that  your  perusal  of  this  volume  will  bring  back  to 
you  the  cat's  eyes  on  the  lights  of  vehicles  through  the  rain  on  a  muddy 
night;  the  stumbling  effort  of  the  ration  details;  the  urgency  of  am- 
munition hauls;  and  as  you  worked  forward  to  the  line  the  tense 
alertness  of  the  silent  sentry  at  the  guns;  the  whispered  greeting  of  a 
tank  driver  digging  in  the  shadow  of  his  vehicle;  and  finally  the  in- 
fantry deep  in  their  waterlogged  foxholes,  waiting  for  that  hellish 
period  just  before  dawn  when  man's  vitality  is  lowest  and  yet  his 
greatest  effort  is  required. 

And  with  all  this  may  you  say  again  "well  done"  in  lasting  satisfac- 
tion. 


HARRY  J.  MALONY 
Major  General,  U.  S.  Army 
Commanding  94th  Infantry  Division 


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FOREWORD 


FROM  shortly  after  VE-Day  until  the  present  time,  many  men  of 
the  94th  Infantry  Division,  both  commissioned  and  noncommis- 
sioned, have  been  associated  in  various  capacities  with  the  task 
of  preparing  this  division  history.  Delays  have  been  numerous —  occa- 
sioned by  redeployment,  separation  from  service  and  the  difficulty  of 
finding  someone,  following  the  inactivation  of  the  division,  to  carry 
the  work  to  completion.  Moreover,  it  is  to  be  regretted  that  from 
the  outset  no  accurate  records  were  kept  of  the  persons  employed  on 
this  project  nor  of  the  extent  of  their  individual  contributions. 

Major  Samuel  H.  Hays,  Assistant  Division  G-3,  was  appointed  the 
first  full  time  Division  Historian  on  May  12,  1945,  by  Major  General 
Harry  J.  Malony,  who  charged  him  with  preparing  a  complete  and 
comprehensive  outline  for  a  history  of  the  94th  Division  and  with 
gathering  the  necessary  documents  and  data  from  which  such  a  book 
could  be  written.  Realizing  the  enormity  of  his  task,  Major  Hays 
sought  and  obtained  the  assistance  of  Major  Carl  H.  Schofield  and 
Captain  Frederick  D.  Standish,  II,  who,  along  with  Major  Hays,  were 
appointed  members  of  the  Division  Historical  Board.  At  this  same 
time,  Technician  Fourth  Grade  Raymond  O.  Kraus  was  detailed  as 
clerk  to  the  Historical  Board.  Between  mid-May  and  the  end  of  July 
1945,  these  officers  drew  up  the  original  outline  for  the  division  history, 
gathered  the  required  source  material,  compiled  an  exhaustive  narra- 
tive on  the  enemy's  actions  within  the  Saar-Moselle  Triangle  and 
across  the  Saar  River,  in  addition  to  writing  an  account  of  the  capture 
of  Tettingen-Butzdorf. 

On  July  31,  1945  the  continuation  of  the  project,  or  the  actual 
writing  of  the  manuscript,  was  turned  over  to  Major  Paul  W.  Marshall 
of  the  319th  Engineers,  who  was  assigned  the  assistance  of  Major  John 
N.  Smith,  Captain  Thomas  J.  Mclntyre,  Lieutenant  George  F.  Shaw, 
Lieutenant  Robert  Gordon,  Lieutenant  Harold  N.  Cheatham,  and 
Lieutenant  John  N.  Willett,  all  of  whom  were  appointed  to  the  Divi- 
sion Historical  Board  replacing  the  original  members.  In  addition  the 
following  personnel  were  placed  on  duty  with  the  new  Historical 
Board:  Sergeant  William  P.  Williams,  Technician  Fourth  Grade  Peter 
A.  Scacco,  Technician  Fourth  Grade  John  L.  Obal,  Technician  Fourth 
Grade  Louis  J.  Persinger,  and  Technician  Fifth  Grade  William  A. 
Newman.  Work  began  immediately,  though  it  was  not  possible  to 
assign  a  writer  to  each  of  the  chapters  outlined  in  the  Hays'  plan  as 
the  new  Division  Historian  desired.  The  mass  of  records  which  had 
been  gathered  was  studied  exhaustively,  while  hundreds  of  interviews 
were  conducted  with  combat  personnel  of  the  division,  on  all  levels: 

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FOREWORD 


squad,  platoon,  company,  battalion  and  regiment.  It  was  during  this 
work  that  redeployment  struck  hardest.  When  Major  Marshall  left 
the  Historical  Board  in  September  to  take  command  of  the  319th  Engi- 
neer Battalion,  Major  Smith  assumed  his  responsibilities  as  Division 
Historian.  Every  possible  effort  was  made  to  replace  members  of  the 
historical  force  returned  to  the  United  States.  However,  it  was  a  losing 
battle.  During  this  period,  the  following  were  some  of  the  many 
persons  who  contributed  to  the  history:  Captain  Charles  E.  Wright, 
Lieutenant  Joseph  M.  Levy,  Lieutenant  Raymond  B.  Thomas,  Lieu- 
tenant George  C.  Walsh,  Lieutenant  Francis  E.  English  and  Lieuten- 
ant McNull.  Gradually  the  personnel  situation  grew  worse.  By  the 
time  Major  Smith  was  ready  for  redeployment,  work  had  reached  a 
standstill.  There  was  a  manuscript  in  rough  draft,  but  no  one  to  con- 
tinue the  work.  Also,  the  division  itself  was  preparing  for  return  to 


In  March  of  1946,  following  the  inactivation  of  the  94th  Infantry 
Division,  Lieutenant  Pierce  U.  Wheatley,  formerly  of  the  301st  Infan- 
try, became  Division  Historian.  He  spent  several  months  working  on 
the  history,  prior  to  his  separation,  but  reported  that  he  "was  far  from 
satisfied"  with  the  manuscript  when  he  returned  to  civilian  life. 

Again  there  was  no  one  to  continue  the  project.  Finally,  in  Septem- 
ber of  1946,  the  present  historian  took  over.  The  form  of  the  manu- 
script was  rearranged;  the  text  completely  rewritten.  Maps  were  pre- 
pared and  numerous  pictures  obtained  from  the  official  files  of  the 
U.S.  Army  Signal  Corps.  A  new  appendix  was  drawn  up  and  the 
decoration  rosters  contained  therein  were  checked  and  rechecked 
against  available  records.  A  roster  of  the  next  of  kin  of  men  of  the 
94th  Division  killed  in  action  was  compiled,  subsequent  to  which 
arrangements  were  made  for  distribution  of  free  copies  to  these  per- 
sons. Advertising,  subscription,  publication  and  distribution  problems 
were  worked  out  with  the  Infantry  Journal  Press.  These  and  a  multi- 
tude of  other  tasks,  relative  to  the  production  of  The  History  of  the 
94th  Infantry  Division  in  World  War  11,  are  responsible  for  the  delay 
in  the  publication  of  this  volume. 

Unless  otherwise  specified,  all  photographs  used  in  this  history  are 
by  courtesy  of  the  U.  S.  Army  Signal  Corps. 


the  U.  S. 


L.G.B. 


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Pursuant  to  authority  contained  in  letter  TAG 
AG  320.2  (5-26-42)  MR-M-GN,  .  .  .  the  94th 
Infantry  Division  is  activated  this  date. 

FROM  DIVISION  GENERAL  ORDER 
NO.   1,  SEPTEMBER  15,  1942. 


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Chapter  1:  IN  THE  BEGINNING 


THE  LEADING  ELEMENTS  of  the  94th  Infantry  Division  had 
landed  on  Utah  Beach  by  September  8,  1944— D  plus  94.  The 
original  command  post  was  set  up  in  the  outskirts  of  the  village 
of  St.  Marie-du-Mont,  Normandy,  and  the  Division  prepared  to  exe- 
cute whatever  combat  mission  Headquarters  US  Ninth  Army  might 
assign.  Behind  the  Division  lay  two  solid  years  of  training.  Both  units 
and  individuals  had  been  tested  and  retested;  they  were  as  letter-perfect 
and  as  battle-ready  as  training  alone  could  make  them.  The  prevailing 
mood  was  one  of  confidence — confidence  mixed  with  the  apprehension 
that  comes  to  troops  as  yet  untried  in  battle.  Come  what  may,  the 
Division  felt  that  it  would  conduct  itself  in  keeping  with  the  traditions 
that  it  had  acquired  since  activation. 

It  was  on  the  15th  of  September,  1942,  that  the  94th  Infantry  Divi- 
sion was  activated.  The  place  was  Fort  Custer,  Michigan;  the  time 
1630  hours.  Major  General  Harry  J.  Malony,  the  Commanding  Gen- 
eral, received  the  Division  colors  from  Colonel  Arthur  M.  Payne 
(Retired),  who  had  commanded  the  376th  Infantry  Regiment  during 
World  War  I.  This  simple  yet  impressive  ceremony  was  attended  by 
Brigadier  General  Harlan  N.  Hartness,  Assistant  Division  Commander; 
Brigadier  General  Louis  J.  Fortier,  Division  Artillery  Commander; 
the  cadre  of  the  Division  and  leading  citizens  of  the  nearby  towns  of 
Battle  Creek  and  Kalamazoo,  Michigan. 

The  entire  enlisted  cadre  of  the  Division,  and  the  officer  cadre  below 
regimental  level,  had  been  drawn  from  the  77th  Infantry  Division  then 
stationed  at  Fort  Jackson,  South  Carolina.  To  this  skeleton  force  had 
been  added  a  sprinkling  of  ROTC  lieutenants  and  Officer  Candidate 
School  graduates  sufficient  to  give  the  94th  its  required  officer  strength. 

Soon  after  activation  it  became  evident  that  the  range  facilities  at 
Fort  Custer  were  entirely  inadequate.  An  extensive  reconnaissance  of 
the  surrounding  countryside  revealed  no  solution  to  the  problem.  This, 
and  the  fact  that  the  filler  replacements  needed  to  man  the  Division 
were  not  then  available,  led  Second  Army  Headquarters  to  issue  orders 
late  in  October  for  movement  of  the  94th  to  Camp  Phillips,  Kansas, 
the  following  month.  An  advance  party  consisting  of  twenty-seven 
officers  and  one  hundred  and  twenty-one  enlisted  men  departed  from 
Fort  Custer,  for  the  new  station,  on  the  1st  of  November,  followed 
by  the  main  body  of  the  Division  on  the  15th.  Three  days  later  all 
personnel  had  closed  at  Camp  Phillips. 

Camp  Phillips  was  a  "theater  of  operations"  type  camp.  Construc- 
tion was  of  wood  and  tar-paper,  and  barracks  were  one  story  high. 
The  camp-site  was  bleak,  windswept  and  on  the  whole  generally  de- 


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porting  each  regiment  and  from  personnel  of  the  regiments  themselves. 

The  Division's  stay  at  Camp  Phillips  was  characterized  by  extremes 
in  weather.  The  winter  of  1942  was  one  of  the  most  severe  Kansas 
had  ever  experienced.  It  impeded  training  and  caused  acute  misery 
among  the  troops.  Out-of-doors  activities  were  conducted  in  zero  and 
sub-zero  weather.  At  times  the  firing  ranges  were  used  under  near- 
blizzard  conditions.  The  coming  of  spring  and  early  summer  brought 
other  extremes.  First,  it  was  rain  and  glue-like  mud,  then  oppressive 
heat  and  blinding  dust  storms.  On  several  occasions,  it  became  neces- 
sary to  issue  dust  respirators  and  goggles  to  the  guards  to  enable  them 
to  continue  walking  their  posts. 

With  the  coming  of  August,  1943,  the  26th  Infantry  Division  and 
the  94th  traded  Assistant  Division  Commanders,  and  Brigadier  General 
Henry  B.  Cheadle  replaced  General  Hartness,  who  proceeded  to  the 
Yankee  Division. 

Late  the  same  month,  the  Division  began  movement  to  the  Second 
Army  Maneuver  Area  in  central  Tennessee.  Headquarters  opened  in 
Gallatin  on  the  30th  of  August  and  the  following  day  the  troops 
detrained  at  Portland.  Almost  immediately  the  Division  was  ordered 
to  provide  1,500  overseas  replacements.  Despite  this  heavy  loss  in 
trained  personnel,  the  94th  came  through  the  eight  operations  of  Phase 
III  of  the  maneuver  with  flying  colors.  These  activities  kept  the  outfit 
busy  until  November  rolled  around. 

On  the  7th  and  8th  of  November,  the  Division  moved  by  motor 
from  the  maneuver  area  to  Camp  Forrest,  near  Tullahoma,  Tennessee. 
This  was  a  temporary  station  provided  until  the  84th  Infantry  Division 
could  clear  Camp  McCain,  Mississippi.  While  at  Forrest,  each  infan- 
try battalion  transferred  one  hundred  men  to  the  8th  Infantry  Division, 
which  had  been  alerted  for  overseas  movement.  Many  items  of  combat 
serviceable  equipment  were  also  handed  over  to  the  8th  Division. 

Late  in  November  the  94th  moved  by  motor  to  its  new  home  in 
Mississippi.  The  same  tar-paper  and  wood  construction  that  had  been 
so  uncomfortable  in  Kansas  again  was  encountered.  Post  facilities 
were  about  the  same  as  at  Camp  Phillips;  however,  the  terrain  offered 
a  welcome  relief  from  the  treeless  prairies  where  it  was  said,  "there's 
nothing  between  us  and  Canada  but  barbed  wire  fences." 

Post-maneuver  training  began  as  soon  as  units  were  settled  on  the 
new  reservation.  All  types  of  exercises  and  problems  were  presented 
and  the  ammunition  allowance  for  all  arms  was  most  liberal.  Extended 
rifle-platoon  maneuvers  were  held  in  Holly  Springs  National  Forest, 


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IN  THE  BEGINNING 


7 


with  units  operating  independently  for  six  days  at  a  time.  Also,  the 
Expert  Infantryman  Badge  tests  were  conducted. 

Inundation  of  the  area  surrounding  Grenada,  Mississippi,  by  flood 
waters  of  the  Yalobusha  River,  led  the  local  mayor,  on  March  29, 
1944,  to  call  on  the  94th  for  help  in  evacuating  marooned  families. 
Division  speedily  answered  this  appeal  by  dispatching  Company  C, 
319th  Engineers  and  assault  boats  equipped  with  outboard  motors. 
From  an  area  approximately  thirty-five  miles  square,  bounded  by  the 
villages  of  Oxberry,  Cascilla,  Holcomb,  Parsons  and  Philipp,  the  engi- 
neers rescued  153  persons  between  the  29th  and  31st  of  the  month. 

The  Governor  of  the  State  of  Mississippi  visited  the  94th,  on  the 
19th  of  April,  accompanied  by  140  honorary  Mississippi  colonels,  all 
proudly  wearing  the  "golden  chickens'*  of  their  rank.  For  the  benefit 
of  the  visitors,  a  field  artillery  demonstration  was  conducted  by  Gen- 
eral Fortier's  men.  In  addition,  elements  of  the  302d  Infantry  crawled 
through  a  soggy  infiltration  course.  During  the  latter  demonstration, 
detonation  of  nitro-starch  charges  planted  in  water  holes  previ- 
ously dug  in  the  course,  liberally  showered  most  of  the  spectators 
with  mud. 

On  May  5,  1944,  the  94th  Division  was  alerted  for  overseas  service 
and  the  training  week  stepped  up  to  a  minimum  of  forty-eight  hours 
so  that  all  POM  (Preparation  for  Overseas  Movement)  requirements 
could  be  met.  TE-21  inspections  were  started  and  specialized  training 
was  pursued  more  intensely  than  before. 

Under  Secretary  of  War  Robert  P.  Patterson  visited  the  Division  on 
May  26,  1944,  and  the  following  day,  at  a  review  staged  in  his  honor, 
he  attached  streamers  to  the  guidons  of  several  infantry  units,  recog- 
nizing them  as  having  qualified  as  Expert  Infantry  Companies.  (In 
June  the  376th  Infantry  qualified  as  the  first  Expert  Infantry  Regiment 
in  the  United  States  Army,  while  the  Division  itself  won  the  distinc- 
tion of  being  the  first  Expert  Infantry  Division.)  During  this  visit  of 
the  Under  Secretary  of  War,  two  special  exercises  were  conducted: 
a  night  operation  in  which  an  infantry  battalion  and  its  supporting 
artillery  demonstrated  their  defensive  fires,  and  a  dawn  attack  by  an 
infantry  regiment,  with  attached  tanks,  supported  by  accurate  and 
powerful  artillery  fire.  Later,  in  writing  to  General  Malony,  Mr. 
Patterson  remarked,  "My  visit  to  the  94th  Infantry  Division  .  .  .  was 
a  gratifying  experience.  You  have  an  outstanding  organization.  I  am 
proud  of  the  honorary  membership  that  was  conferred  upon  me." 

Movement  of  the  main  body  of  the  Division  to  Camp  Shanks,  New 
York,  the  designated  Port  of  Embarkation,  began  on  July  23,  1944. 


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mm 


v., 


iVKV-am,  !?}'  W  JiH,  an  ^ermciiuvcic  nte  ^mvwou. n*uj  tu.»cu-  41  vmanK> 
anil  -  final  processing  he^aa.  Heacv  days  followed,  [(litre  ^ere-  buat 
d  rills  <p&ulatJtH)&.  mspeustms  of  dnjthfn£-~*nc{  ccju^pnient,  m4  sfy 
quired  lectures  to  keep  all  peiM>nnd  hu*v',  On  the  mining  of August'' 


reservation  area.   Beginning  the  follwinu  evening  and  continuing 


vgle 


Orrginal  He r_i  V 


"  -  _  ,       UNIVERSITY- OF-MtCH  C^-J 


PART  TWO 
THE  UNITED  KINGDOM 


We  have  105s  and  hand  grenades, 
And  our  bayonets  shine  in  the  sun, 
And  we  won't  be  back  to  the  Michigan  tract 
Till  the  whole  damn  thing  is  done. 

FROM  THE  94th  DIVISION  SONG 


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Chapter  2:  AT  SEA 


EVEN  AS  THE  TUGS  were  nosing  the  Queen  Elizabeth  away 
from  the  wharf  and  into  the  channel  of  the  Hudson,  the  inevit- 
able "chain  of  command"1  was  being  instituted  below  decks. 
Division  headquarters  operated  from  the  once-beautiful  main  dining 
room  of  the  ship.  The  vessel  itself  was  divided  into  three  parts:  Red, 
White,  and  Blue.  Each  section  had  an  orderly  room  and  in  these  the 
three  regimental  headquarters  were  located.  For  the  duration  of  the 
voyage  only,  all  the  units  below  regimental  level  were  attached  to 
the  301st,  302d  or  376th  Infantry.  These  units  established  their  indi- 
vidual command  posts  in  convenient  locations  throughout  the  ship  and 
maintained  contact  with  the  regimental  headquarters  to  which  attached 
by  either  phone  or  runner.  Existing  telephone  communications  aboard 
the  Elizabeth  were  excellent  and  used  extensively.  All  headquarters 
operated  around  the  clock,  according  to  schedules  that  had  been  set 
up  before  sailing.  Thus,  it  was  possible  for  the  division  commander 
to  contact  any  or  all  of  his  subordinate  units,  down  to  the  lowest  level, 
with  a  minimum  of  delay. 

Aerial  escort  was  provided  the  first  day  out,  but  with  the  coming 
of  the  7th  the  Queen  was  on  her  own.  For  protection  there  were  only 
speed  and  the  deck  guns.  The  latter  were  primarily  for  antiaircraft 
purposes  and  were  manned  by  artillerymen  of  the  301st  Field  Artillery 
Battalion,  which  had  been  selected  as  "Gun  Battalion"  for  the  ship 
during  the  crossing.  Under  the  supervision  of  British  crew  chiefs,  the 
artillerymen  practiced  for  hours  each  day:  loading,  tracking  and 
simulating  fire.  On  several  occasions  live  rounds  were  expended  for 
training  purposes.  At  the  completion  of  the  crossing,  Lieutenant  Com- 
mander Bullen,  RNVR,  Gunnery  Officer  of  the  Queen  Elizabeth  com- 
mended the  battalion  in  writing,  and  in  addressing  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Samuel  L.  Morrow's  men  at  the  final  muster  on  board,  said:  "This 
is  only  the  second  time  in  over  two  years  of  carrying  troops  across 
that  I  have  commended  the  draft  gun  battalion.  This  is  the  finest 
draft  gun  battalion  that  I  have  ever  seen." 

Daily  during  the  voyage  two  meals  were  served  and  due  to  the  great 
number  of  persons  on  board,  feeding  was  accomplished  in  relays.  Each 
man  had  a  mess  card  on  which  was  indicated  the  dining  hall  he  was 
to  attend  and  the  number  of  his  shift:  first,  second,  third,  fourth,  fifth 
or  sixth.  As  the  galleys  were  ready  to  feed  each  sitting,  announcement 
was  made  over  the  ship's  speaker  system.  The  call  "Number  One  Mess 
Cards,  Form  Your  Lines!"  would  send  the  initial  groups  scurrying 
and  leave  the  last  shifts  sulking  at  the  prospect  of  the  long  wait  ahead. 

!For  Glossary  of  Military  Terms  and  Abbreviations  see  page  525. 

10 


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mmmi 


The  SS  ©u*eiv  Ef'isbetfc  fCourtejy  Cufltffd.  WHta  Sfat, 


Throughout  ilvt voyage  both  the  aad  weather  mrjainetl  dim, 
Only  a  iW  of  the  9 1th  proved  themselves  poor  sailors  jnd  those  who 


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12 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


One  night  a  brightly  lighted  hospital  ship  was  sighted,  and  the 
Elizabeth  fled  the  scene.  Being  silhouetted  against  the  lights  of  this 
other  American  vessel  was  the  last  thing  the  skipper  or  his  passengers 
desired,  in  waters  that  were  known  to  be  the  hunting  ground  of  Ger- 
man submarines.  On  two  occasions  in  the  dead  of  night,  the  course 
was  shifted  so  sharply  men  were  hurled  from  their  bunks.  These  sud- 
den and  abrupt  changes  of  direction  were  followed  by  an  increase  in 
speed  and  excessive  zig-zagging.  When  under  forced-draft  the  Queen 
would  quiver  and  vibrate  as  she  took  off  like  a  frightened  deer.  There 
was  never  any  explanation  from  the  crew  as  to  what  had  caused  these 
hasty  sprints,  but  the  word  "radar"  was  whispered  back  and  forth  with 
knowing  winks. 

Land  was  sighted  the  morning  of  the  11th  and  many  Irishmen  saw 
the  home  of  their  fathers  for  the  first  time.  The  Elizabeth  sailed 
proudly  into  the  North  Channel;  the  antiaircraft  guns  swung  smoothly 
as  they  practice-tracked  the  British  planes  that  crossed  and  recrossed 
the  course  of  the  ship  on  their  routine  patrols.  The  men  broke  out 
binoculars  and  initially  inspected  the  United  Knigdom  by  courtesy  of 
Bausch  &  Lomb.  As  the  day  progressed  the  Queen  Elizabeth  swung 
into  the  beautiful  Firth  of  Clyde,  proceeding  into  what  seemed  a  fairy 
land.  Glasses  were  no  longer  needed  to  study  the  tiny  villages  that 
dotted  the  shoreline.  In  turn,  the  absence  of  wooden  construction, 
thatched  roofs  and  the  fresh  greenness  of  the  country  side  were  dis- 
cussed. Everything  was  trim,  precise  and  well  ordered.  There  was 
absolutely  no  sign  of  bomb  damage. 

In  stately  grandeur  and  at  a  leisurely  pace,  the  Queen  sailed  up 
the  Clyde  to  Greenock,  Scotland,  near  Glasgow.  There  she  anchored 
in  mid-stream  as  there  were  no  wharfing  facilities  capable  of  handling 
a  ship  of  her  tonnage. 


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Chapter  3:  WILTSHIRE  COUNTY 


THE  MORNING  OF  August  12,  1944,  the  troops  of  the  94th 
began  debarking  from  the  Queen  Elizabeth.  Full  equipment  was 
carried  and  the  Scottish  climate  was  mild  enough  to  make  ODs 
only  slightly  uncomfortable.  Debarkation  was  accomplished  by  means 
of  lighters  which  steamed  alongside  the  Queen  to  receive  troops  from 
unloading-ports  located  at  approximately  the  deck  level  of  the  lighters. 
Looking  up  from  the  decks  of  the  smaller  vessels,  a  striking  impression 
of  the  tremendous  size  of  the  Elizabeth  was  obtained.  New  York  to 
Scotland  in  less  than  six  days!  The  Division  was  really  "on  the  way." 

On  shore  at  Greenock,  the  94th  was  received  by  personnel  of  the 
Transportation  Corps.  Units  were  divided  into  groups  for  entrap- 
ment and  TC  personnel  supervised  the  loading.  The  whole  affair  was 
conducted  in  an  orderly  and  efficient  manner,  with  troops  being  dis- 
posed of  as  fast  as  they  disembarked. 

The  English  railway  coaches  were  a  great  novelty  and  experts  on  the 
relative  merits  of  American  and  British  rolling  stock  sprang  up  like 
mushrooms.  In  the  midst  of  these  discussions,  the  American  Red  Cross 
appeared  on  the  scene  with  hot  coffee  and  doughnuts.  Huge  amounts 
were  consumed  to  delay  inroads  on  the  K  rations  which  had  been  issued 
each  man  prior  to  leaving  the  Elizabeth. 

Debarkation  was  completed  on  the  13th  and  the  Division  moved 
to  temporary  stations  in  Wiltshire  County  in  southern  England.  On 
the  arrival  of  units  at  their  destinations,  they  were  met  by  members 
of  the  advance  party  who  were  on  hand  to  act  as  guides  and  settle 
the  troops  in  the  billets  that  had  been  procured.  The  advance  detach- 
ment reported  that  they  had  left  the  States  on  July  2,  1944  aboard  the 
SS  John  Ericsson,  a  sister  ship  of  the  famous  Gripsholm.  Their  cross- 
ing had  taken  ten  days  in  convoy.  In  spots  the  weather  had  been  bad 
and  they  were  happy  to  see  the  docks  of  Liverpool.  From  there  they 
moved  by  train  to  Stockton  House,  Codford  St.  Mary,  England,  where 
they  remained  until  the  20th  of  July.  The  advance  detachment  then 
travelled  to  Chippenham  where  the  process  of  drawing  equipment  for 
the  Division  began.  Arrangements  were  made  also,  at  this  time,  for  the 
billeting  of  the  94th  upon  its  arrival. 

Division  headquarters  was  established  in  Greenway  Manor  House 
at  Chippenham  on  the  13th  of  August  and  the  special  unit  companies — 
94th  Signal,  94th  Quartermaster,  94th  Ordnance  and  the  Reconnais- 
sance Troop — located  in  the  same  town.  The  301st  Infantry  and  the 
Division  Artillery  with  all  its  battalions  were  billeted  in  Trowbridge. 
The  302d  Infantry  set  up  at  Grittleton,  the  376th  at  Pinkney  Park 

13 


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— 


and  S!verst0?i.  svtuie  the  ?}yth  Medkai  Battalion ■  and  f he  JH-rh  Engi- 
neers TOW-d  to  billets  at  firombam  arid.Melksham,  .respectively, 

hiunoJiatety  upon  arrival,  in  .southern- England  the  s>4th  bepm  mak- 
ing preparatiopsfpr  ent  ry  into  rhe  combat/zone.  As  rapidly  as;  vehicles 
were  issued  they  were  rendered  combat  serviceable  by 'the  addition  i>F 
wife-oat.tiHg.'pf>.ies.  erected  horn.  the  front  bumpers,  and  by  the  addition 


■ 


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16 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


local  pubs  were  visited  and  acquaintances  were  made  among  the  con- 
genial English  people.  Each  group  found  the  other  highly  interesting 
and  if  the  supply  of  "arf  and  arf"  was  short,  at  least  conversation 
was  unrationed.  Over  and  over  again  the  phrase  "Now,  back  in  the 
States/ '  was  heard.  As  the  barriers  of  reserve  melted  away,  the  towns- 
people admitted  they  were  living  on  short  rations  but  hastened  to 
explain  how  much  better  off  they  were  than  the  bombed-out  people  in 
the  cities.  Bath,  Bristol  and  London  were  visited  by  many  members 
of  the  94th  who  saw  for  the  first  time  the  damage  aerial  bombardment 
can  do  to  a  large  city.  In  London,  some  of  the  troops  actually  came 
under  enemy  fire,  for  V-ls  were  landing  with  disgusting  regularity. 
Stonehenge,  a  work  of  the  ancient  Druids,  was  also  visited  by  some  of 
the  Division. 

On  August  30,  1944,  an  alert  warning  order  was  received  from 
Headquarters  US  Ninth  Army  and  the  Division  was  advised  that  it 
would  move  to  the  Continent  in  the  near  future.  The  following  day 
another  order  from  the  same  source  informed  the  94th  that  it  must 
be  prepared  to  move  on  six  hours'  notice  any  time  after  0001  hours, 
September  3,  1944.  Movement  actually  began  on  September  3,  1944, 
the  earliest  date  specified  by  higher  headquarters.  Units  proceeded  by 
motor  to  Southampton,  Weymouth  and  Portland  where  the  troops 
boarded  Liberty  ships  and  various  other  craft  for  the  crossing  of  the 
English  Channel.  This  journey  to  port  from  the  temporary  areas  in 
Wiltshire  County  required  three  days  for  completion. 


Go  glc 


Origiral  from 

university^  Michigan 


PART  THREE 
FRANCE 


/  realize  that  your  division  has  been  in  its 
present  role  for  some  time  and  I  would  like 
very  much  to  move  you  to  a  more  active  sector. 
This  question  has  come  up  several  times,  but  it 
has  been  impractical  to  make  any  change. 

FROM  A  LETTER  TO  THE  CG, 
94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION, 
FROM  LT.  GEN.  OMAR  N. 
BRADLEY,  CG,  12th  ARMY 
GROUP,  NOVEMBER  14,  1944. 


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Chapter  4:  THE  SITUATION 

ON  D  PLUS  94,  (September  8,  1944)  the  94th  Infantry  Division 
(  opened  its  first  combat  command  post  in  the  outskirts  of  the 
village  of  St.  Marie-du-Mont  in  Normandy,  a  few  miles  inland 
from  Utah  Beach.  General  Malony,  the  Division  Commander,  had 
landed  on  the  5th,  accompanied  by  his  G-4,  Lieutenant  Colonel  John 
D.  F.  Phillips.  The  same  day  both  officers  proceeded  to  Headquarters 
Ninth  Army,  which  had  become  operational  that  day  when  it  assumed 
command  of  the  VIII  Corps  of  the  Third  Army,  at  Mi-Foret.  There, 
Lieutenant  General  William  H.  Simpson,  whose  troops  were  engaged 
in  the  reduction  of  Brest  and  in  containing  the  enemy  forces  pocketed 
against  the  Brittany  coast,  personally  assigned  to  General  Malony  the 
task  of  relieving  the  6th  Armored  Division  facing  the  German  forces 
in  and  around  Lorient.  He  gave  specific  instructions  to  the  effect  that 
the  Division's  mission  was  exclusively  "containing."  Under  no  circum- 
stances was  the  94th  to  attack. 

In  brief  and  by  way  of  background,  the  series  of  events  that  had 
brought  the  6th  Armored  Division  to  Lorient  are  worthy  of  note. 
After  the  fall  of  St.  L6,  on  July  18,  1944,  the  Third  Army,  commanded 
by  Lieutenant  General  George  S.  Patton,  Jr.,  went  into  action.  The 
Third,  teamed  with  the  First,  had  two  goals:  (1)  to  capture  the  port 
cities  of  Cherbourg,  Brest,  St.  Nazaire,  Lorient,  Bordeaux  and  Nantes, 
thus  relieving  the  pressure  on  the  beachhead  ports;  (2)  to  hit  the 
German  forces  in  France  as  hard  as  possible,  and,  should  the  blow 
prove  staggering,  to  pursue  the  enemy  as  long  and  far  as  possible.  In 
the  drive  for  the  ports,  General  Patton's  forces  swept  down  the  Nor- 
mandy coast;  seized  Coutances  and  Granville.  They  next  moved  on 
Avranches  and  Pontorson,  both  of  which  fell  to  their  advance.  This 
opened  the  way  into  Brittany,  across  which  the  armor  swept  against 
slight  and  sporadic  resistance.  The  VIII  Corps  pulled  up  in  front  of 
Brest,  Lorient  and  St.  Nazaire.  Immediately  preparations  were  made 
for  a  final,  all-out  assault  on  Brest  with  a  force  of  three  divisions, 
while  the  rest  of  the  corps  (the  83d  Infantry  and  6th  Armored  Divi- 
sions) spiked  down  the  German  forces  holed  up  at  the  other  two  ports. 

Meanwhile,  XX  Corps  went  after  Rennes,  Laval,  Chateaubriant  and 
Le  Mans.  After  this  the  fighting  in  France  moved  eastward  toward 
Chartres  and  Paris.  Antwerp  fell  to  the  British  Second  Army  on  Sep- 
tember 4,  1944  and  its  port  facilities  were  found  intact.  On  the  19th 
of  the  month,  after  a  bloody  and  costly  struggle,  Brest  was  taken. 
Because  of  the  costliness  of  this  assault  and  the  fact  that  Antwerp 
was  in  Allied  hands,  it  was  later  decided  to  contain  permanently  the 

18 


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zea  h- 


UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


presented  a  situation  made  to  order  -fox  these  guerrilla  or 


landed  was  £his:  Brest  was  about  to  Ml.  Lotimt  ami  St  Na^lre  were 
completely  in  German  ..hands  with .  the  enemy  feverishly  striving  to 


.mmediare  and  pressing  problems.  Ik  would  htw  io  expedite  the 
landing  of  his  troops  who  would  soon  be  coming  ashore  piecemeal; 


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•  ■  i 


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THE  SITUATION 


21 


then  dispatch  them  to  Brittany  where  the  6th  Armored  Division  was 
awaiting  relief.  However,  before  steps  could  be  taken  in  this  direc- 
tion it  was  necessary  to  gain  complete  and  first-hand  knowledge  of  the 
situation  existing  on  the  front  that  the  Division  was  about  to  take  over. 
Toward  this  end,  General  Malony  visited  the  command  post  of  the 
armored  division  to  be  briefed  on  all  matters  pertaining  to  this  first 
battle  mission.  Once  cognizant  of  all  aspects  of  the  disposition  of  the 
force  to  be  relieved,  the  situation  and  the  terrain,  the  CG  of  the  94th 
returned  post  haste  to  Utah  Beach,  to  assemble  his  command  as  they 
came  ashore  and  start  units  moving  toward  Brittany. 


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Chapter  5:  CROSSING  AND  COMMITMENT 


THE  WATERS  off  Utah  Beach  presented  a  scene  of  desolation 
and  destruction  as  the  94th  began  debarkation.  Visible  were 
the  wrecks  of  more  landing  craft  and  Liberty  ships  than  a  man 
would  care  to  count.  Masts,  funnels,  bows  and  sterns  were  thrust  up 
from  the  waves  at  all  manner  of  grotesque  angles.  Among  and  beyond 
the  naval  wreckage  were  LSTs,  LCIs,  Liberty  ships,  freighters  and 
tankers  waiting  to  unload.  Plying  from  ship  to  ship  and  from  shore 
to  ship  were  various  smaller  craft:  power  boats,  DUKWs,  Rhinos  and 
LCTs.  Overhead  were  scores  of  barrage  balloons — awkward,  gray 
shapes  floating  high  above  the  decks  of  the  vessels  to  which  they  were 
attached  by  steel  cables.  Their  purpose  was  to  discourage  low-level 
attack  by  enemy  aircraft  and  this  they  did  well. 

On  Utah  Beach  itself  was  more  debris  of  all  types.  Moreover,  the 
sea  had  spewed  bits  and  pieces  of  smaller  military  equipage  above 
high  water  mark  and  these  were  gradually  being  ground  into  the  sand. 
Dug  into  the  dunes  behind  the  beach  and  heavily  camouflaged  were 
the  pillboxes,  gun  emplacements,  firing  pits,  communication  trenches, 
dugouts  and  shelters  that  had  formed  the  German  beach  defenses. 
Long-barreled  88s  still  protruded  from  their  firing  apertures;  pano- 
ramic range  cards  painted  around  the  circumference  of  the  open-type 
emplacements  had  not  yet  begun  to  fade  from  weathering.  Barbed 
wire  was  strung  with  wasteful  abandon  and  everywhere  were  Achtung 
Minen  signs,  complete  with  skull  and  crossbones. 

Landing  craft  rammed  themselves  against  the  beach,  discharged  their 
cargoes  and  wiggled  back  into  deep  water.  Men  and  machines  milled 
about  everywhere.  Utah  Beach  seemed  a  place  of  utter  confusion.  It 
was.  But,  out  of  the  confusion  order  was  being  wrought.  The  situa- 
tion was  not  as  much  a  "can  of  worms"  as  it  appeared. 

Behind  the  beach,  on  the  road  to  St.  Marie-du-Mont  was  more 
evidence  of  the  fury  of  the  fight  that  had  taken  place  three  months 
earlier.  Buildings  were  for  the  most  part  shattered  and  shell-torn. 
Shell  craters  were  everywhere  and  the  roads  were  liberally  pockmarked 
in  addition  to  being  practically  worn  out.  Telephone  wires  by  the 
score  were  strung  in  the  ditches  paralleling  the  roads  and  American 
engineer  signs  bearing  the  legend  "Mines  Cleared  to  Shoulder"  were 
much  in  evidence.  St.  Marie-du-Mont  was  highly  interesting  to  the 
men  of  the  94th,  merely  because  it  was  the  first  of  many  such  towns. 
However,  it  was  not  until  the  truck  columns  rolled  through  Carentan, 
Coutances  and  Avranches  that  the  effects  of  total  war  were  really  seen. 
St.  Marie  had  been  hit  but  not  pulverized. 

Division  headquarters  had  been  among  the  first  elements  to  move. 

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24  THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 

It  motored  to  Southampton  and  there  boarded  the  Liberty  ship  Lucian 
B.  Maxwell,  on  September  4,  1944.  The  following  day  this  vessel 
moved  to  the  mouth  of  the  harbor  and  there  joined  a  large  convoy  of 
U.S.  troop  and  supply  ships.  On  the  morning  of  the  7th,  the  convoy 
sailed  into  the  Channel  and  after  an  uneventful  crossing  dropped 
anchor  off  Utah  Beach  at  2030  hours  the  same  day.  Later  that  evening 
the  port  commander  directed  the  skipper  of  the  Maxwell  to  discharge 
personnel  and  cargo  the  following  day.  This  was  accomplished.  On 
September  8,  1944  Division  headquarters  came  ashore  and  went  into 
operation  in  the  vicinity  of  St.  Marie. 

Movement  orders  for  displacing  the  division  from  Great  Britain 
to  the  Continent  had  set  up  the  following  order  of  march:  Combat 
Team  301,  Combat  Team  302  and  Combat  Team  376.  The  CTs  moved 
out  in  the  order  indicated;  however,  bad  weather  disrupted  plans  for 
sailing  and  debarkation. 

The  301st  Infantry,  quartered  in  Trowbridge,  departed  on  Septem- 
ber 4,  1944  for  Southampton  under  the  command  of  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Donald  Hardin,  the  regimental  executive  officer,  since  Colonel  Roy  N. 
Hagerty,  the  regimental  commander,  was  moving  with  Division  Head- 
quarters. Foot  elements  of  the  regiment  boarded  the  Neutral/a  and 
the  Crossbow  the  evening  of  the  5th  after  a  24-hour  delay  and  began 
landings  on  Utah  Beach  on  the  6th.  The  regimental  command  post 
was  set  up  in  the  outskirts  of  St.  Marie-du-Mont.  On  the  8th  Colonel 
Hagerty  came  ashore  and  after  a  conference  with  General  Malony 
left  for  the  6th  Armored  Division  headquarters  at  Plouay,  France. 
Also  on  the  8th,  the  301st  pulled  stakes  at  St.  Marie  and  headed  for 
Lorient.  An  overnight  bivouac  was  made  en  route,  in  the  vicinity  of 
Rennes.  On  the  9th  the  regiment  moved  into  the  line  beginning  the 
relief  of  the  6th  Armored  Division. 

The  302d  Infantry  began  movement  to  Southampton  on  September 
5,  1944,  when  the  motorized  elements  moved  to  the  port.  By  the 
6th,  all  vehicles  and  their  accompanying  personnel  had  been  loaded. 
Foot  troops  followed  on  the  7th  and  debarked  on  Utah  Beach  the 
following  day,  unloading  ahead  of  the  motor  elements.  The  foot 
troops  then  marched  to  the  vicinity  of  Vierville,  the  beachhead  loca- 
tion of  the  regimental  command  post.  On  the  9th,  the  motor  elements 
of  the  regiment  began  unloading,  but  due  to  rough  water  off  the  beach 
a  week  passed  before  all  personnel  were  ashore.  On  the  10th  an 
advance  party  from  the  302d  left  for  Lorient;  two  days  later,  the  regi- 
ment minus  the  2d  and  3d  Battalions  departed  for  Rennes,  where  it 
was  expected  it  would  reassemble.  Colonel  Earle  A.  Johnson's  regi- 


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CROSSING  AND  COMMITMENT 


25 


mental  headquarters,  1st  Battalion  and  Antitank  Company  moved  to 
the  vicinity  of  Plouay  on  the  15th  where  the  command  post  opened  at 
1800  hours.  The  2d  and  3d  Battalions  completed  their  movement  on 
the  16th  and  rejoined  the  regiment.  This  same  afternoon  all  three 
battalions  were  committed. 

The  376th,  which  had  sailed  from  the  United  Kingdom  on  the  7th 
of  September,  began  landing  on  the  9th.  Orders  for  movement  to 
Lorient  had  to  be  countermanded  when  the  St.  Nazaire  pocket  was 
added  to  the  Division's  containing  mission  and  the  relief  of  elements 
of  the  83d  Division  was  directed.  The  regiment's  march  objective 
was  shifted  accordingly.  Colonel  Harold  H.  McClune's  men  moved  to 
Rennes  and  from  there  to  the  new  front. 

Because  of  bad  weather  the  Division  Artillery  also  experienced  diffi- 
culty in  crossing  the  Channel.  The  301st  Field  Artillery  Battalion 
reached  Weymouth  on  the  3d  of  September  and  loaded  in  LSTs  during 
the  4th  and  5th.  Debarkation  began  on  Utah  Beach  the  next  day.  For 
three  days  the  battalion  bivouacked  in  the  vicinity  of  the  beach;  on 
the  9th  it  moved  to  Rennes.  The  following  day  the  301st  Field  Artil- 
lery headed  for  forward  positions  in  the  Pont  Scorff  area.  These  were 
reached  by  nightfall. 

The  356th  Field  Artillery  Battalion  departed  from  Trowbridge  on 
September  4,  1944.  It  crossed  the  Channel  without  incident  and  on 
the  10th  moved  to  Rennes  where  it  remained  overnight.  The  morning 
of  the  11th  the  356th  moved  to  positions  south  of  Plouay.  Position- 
area  surveys  were  completed  and  wire  communications  necessary  for 
registration  were  laid  before  sundown.  The  battalion's  first  mission 
was  to  reinforce  the  fires  of  the  128th  Field  Artillery  of  the  6th 
Armored  Division,  this  battalion  being  in  direct  support  of  the  1st 
Battalion,  301st  Infantry. 

The  919th  Field  Artillery  Battalion  departed  from  Trowbridge  on 
September  5,  1944,  reaching  the  coast  of  Normandy  on  the  8th.  This 
battalion,  the  direct  support  artillery  of  the  376th  Infantry,  upon  de- 
barkation headed  for  Vigneux,  Loire  Inferieure  (St.  Nazaire  sector) 
and  went  into  bivouac  there  on  the  14th.  The  battalion  officially 
rejoined  the  combat  team  when  it  relieved  the  908th  Field  Artillery 
Battalion  of  the  83d  Division  on  September  17,  1944.  Battery  A  took 
positions  to  the  north  of  Vigneux,  in  the  center  of  the  sector  of  3d 
Battalion,  376th,  while  Batteries  B  and  C  went  into  position  to  the 
south  of  Vigneux  supporting  the  1st  Battalion  of  this  regiment. 

The  390th  Field  Artillery  Battalion  also  left  Trowbridge  on  the 
5th  of  September.  After  a  24-hour  delay  at  Portland,  the  unit  sailed 


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26 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


for  France  on  the  morning  of  the  7th.  The  LSTs  reached  Utah  Beach 
at  0330  hours  on  the  8th  and  began  unloading  at  0730  hours.  Follow- 
ing debarkation,  the  battalion  moved  to  Beaumont  and  on  the  9th 
trucked  to  Rennes  for  an  overnight  stay.  The  next  day  reconnaissance 
parties  reconnoitered  position  areas  and  observation  post  locations  as 
the  main  body  closed  at  Plouay.  Positions  were  occupied  on  the  12th; 
communications  were  established  and  registration  completed  by  1915 
hours  of  the  same  day. 


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Chapter  6:  THE  POCKETS 

IN  REGARD  TO  TERRAIN  the  pockets  of  Lorient  and  St.  Nazaire 
were  almost  exact  opposites.  At  Lorient,  where  the  enemy  held 
,  some  one  hundred  square  miles  of  French  territory,  the  mountains 
ran  practically  down  to  the  seacoast  and  the  area  was  heavily  forested 
in  parts.  Three  rivers,  the  Leita,  the  Scorff  and  the  Blavet  flowed  south- 
ward into  the  Bay  of  Biscay,  from  the  American  lines  toward  the  Ger- 
man positions.  Here  the  observation  favored  the  Division,  but  numer- 
ous hills  and  ridges  within  the  enemy-held  area  provided  the  Germans 
with  a  fair  degree  of  visibility.  Time  and  again,  the  enemy  brought 
forward  mobile  artillery  to  the  high  ground  behind  his  lines,  employing 
it  with  telling  effect  on  the  American  positions. 

At  St.  Nazaire,  the  680  square  miles  of  German-dominated  terrain 
was  flat,  swampy  and  intermittently  forested.  Due  to  the  extremely 
level  ground,  a  rise  of  a  few  dozen  feet  would  often  prove  a  deciding 
observation  factor.  Unlike  Lorient,  where  the  opposing  lines  crossed 
the  rivers  in  the  area,  at  St.  Nazaire  existing  water  barriers  outlined 
the  greater  part  of  the  perimeter  of  the  German  pocket.  On  the  north 
the  German  and  American  lines  paralleled  the  opposite  banks  of  the 
Vilaine  River  and  the  Brest-Nantes  Canal.  To  the  west  and  south  the 
enemy  was  protected  by  the  Bay  of  Biscay.  Only  on  the  east  was  there 
no  watercourse  to  separate  the  opposing  lines.  St.  Nazaire  itself  was 
located  directly  south  of  La  Grande  Briere  (the  Great  Swamp)  on  the 
bank  of  the  Loire  River  at  its  mouth. 

Hedgerows,  which  were  ever  present  in  Normandy  and  Brittany, 
dotted  the  landscape  in  both  sectors.  The  German  soldier,  by  reason 
of  long  training  and  experience,  had  become  a  past  master  at  the 
defense  of  these  walls  of  living  vegetation.  But,  in  due  time,  the  men 
of  the  94th  learned  to  play  the  game.  There  were  numerous  stories 
of  opposing  patrols  passing  each  other  on  opposite  sides  of  the  same 
hedgerow,  only  to  discover  the  other's  presence  and  engage  in  a  fire 
fight  facing  and  firing  in  the  direction  of  friendly  lines.  At  St.  Nazaire, 
there  was  an  additional  menace  as  many  of  the  roads  paralleled  the 
hedgerows,  making  ambush  a  constant  threat. 

The  relative  stability  of  the  front-line  positions  led  to  skillful  and 
continuous  camouflage  by  both  sides.  As  autumn  progressed,  German 
vehicles  and  weapons,  which  were  painted  a  light  tan  mottled  with 
soft  greens  and  reds,  blended  perfectly  with  the  natural  vegetation 
surrounding  them.  Carefully  prepared  positions  were  extremely  diffi- 
cult to  locate  and  more  than  one  patrol  encountered  rude  surprises. 

During  the  Division's  stay  in  Brittany  the  rainfall  was  extremely 
heavy  and  the  ground  became  muddy  or  sodden.   Often,  turf  that 

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e  of  supporting  the  weight  of  an  artillery  p>nm«c-mover 


Hit 

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THE  POCKETS 


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of  battle  represented  within  the  pockets  this  was  understandable.  Some 
units  consisted  only  of  commanders  and  their  staffs  while  others  were 
overstrength  by  reason  of  the  number  of  stragglers  that  had  joined 
them.  During  the  months  that  the  Division  opposed  the  German  gar- 
risons in  the  Channel  ports,  intensive  training  on  the  part  of  the  enemy 
raised  the  combat  efficiency  of  most  front-line  elements  to  an  excellent 
status.  Morale  and  efficiency  of  rear-echelon  personnel,  however, 
remained  poor  throughout. 

Highest  ranking  German  in  Brittany  after  the  fall  of  Brest  was 
General  der  Artillerie  (Lieutenant  General)  Wilhelm  Fahrmbacher 
who  assumed  command  of  the  infantry  troops  in  and  around  Lorient. 
The  general  had  his  headquarters  in  the  city  of  Lorient  in  a  huge 
bunker  reportedly  capable  of  housing  1,000  men.  This  fortification  was 
reported  to  be  suspended  on  giant  springs  which  acted  as  shock  absor- 
bers when  the  area  was  under  bombardment.  During  October  of  1944, 
rumors  leaking  out  of  the  pocket  hinted  the  headquarters  was  soon 
to  be  moved  as  the  bunker  rocked  excessively. 

Other  high  ranking  Germans  in  the  Lorient  pocket  were  Konter- 
admiral  (Rear  Admiral)  Kaehler,  Colonel  Haversang  and  Colonel 
Kaumann.  Admiral  Kaehler  reportedly  came  from  Brest  by  submarine 
prior  to  the  fall  of  that  city.  Colonel  Haversang  had  commanded  the 
859th  Regiment  of  the  265th  Infantry  Division,  remnants  of  which 
were  within  the  pocket.  (Other  elements  of  this  division  were  located 
at  St.  Nazaire.)  In  charge  of  Fortress  Lorient  itself  was  Colonel  Kau- 
mann and  early  rumors  stated  this  officer  might  consider  surrender. 
Later  it  was  learned  the  colonel  was  hospitalized  and  recovering  from 
wounds.  Possibly  there  was  a  connection  since  no  surrender  overtures 
were  forthcoming. 

Generalmajor  (Brigadier  General)  Junck,  who  was  believed  to  have 
been  the  CG  of  the  265th  Infantry  Division,  took  command  of  all 
German  forces  in  the  St.  Nazaire  pocket  when  it  was  formed  in  August 
of  1944.  Formerly  this  officer  had  been  connected  with  the  Luftwaffe, 
commanding  the  3d  Parachute  Division,  one  of  Germany's  crack  units. 
Also  at  St.  Nazaire  were  Konteradmiral  Mirew,  Generalmajor  Huenten 
and  Colonel  Kaeseberg.  The  admiral,  who  was  a  fanatic  determined 
to  fight  to  the  last  man,  was  in  command  of  Naval  District  Loire. 
General  Huenten  had  command  of  Fortress  St.  Nazaire  while  Colonel 
Kaeseberg,  formerly  a  regimental  commander  in  the  275th  Infantry 
Division,  had  charge  of  all  enemy  defenses  south  of  the  Loire  River. 

At  Lorient  there  were  approximately  500  pieces  of  enemy  artillery 
available  for  action.  Three  hundred  of  these  were  in  stationary  posi- 


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30 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


tions,  but  the  remaining  two  hundred  were  capable  of  a  high  degree 
of  mobility.  These  weapons  ranged  in  caliber  from  20mm  antiaircraft 
guns  to  340mm  coast  defense  weapons  that  had  been  turned  around 
to  hurl  their  700-pound  "flying  barracks  bags"  against  the  troops  of 
the  94th.  Enemy  artillery  in  the  St.  Nazaire  sector  came  to  a  slightly 
greater  total.  There  were  an  estimated  525  pieces  available;  calibers 
ranged  up  to  and  including  340mms.  Ammunition  for  all  types  of 
artillery  was  plentiful  and  the  enemy  used  it  unsparingly. 

All  indications  pointed  to  the  fact  that  a  long  stand  would  be  made 
in  both  areas.  Consistently,  the  Germans  attempted  to  hold  as  much 
farming  land  as  possible,  and  made  extensive  use  of  obstacles,  mines 
and  demolitions.  On  the  OPL,  positions  were  well  constructed,  skill- 
fully camouflaged  and  alert.  Ammunition  for  all  infantry  weapons  was 
most  plentiful,  though  there  were  indications  of  shortages  in  other 
classes  of  supplies.  Food,  for  instance,  was  a  critical  item,  and  trans- 
portation, especially  motor,  was  limited.  In  addition  to  the  areas  within 
the  pockets,  the  Germans  held  the  islands  of  Re,  Groix  and  Belle  in 
the  Bay  of  Biscay.  Belle  Isle  was  of  particular  value  to  the  enemy 
for  food  crops  were  grown  on  its  farm  land  and  it  supplied  great 
quantities  of  potable  water.  Moreover,  it  served  as  a  prisoner  of  war 
enclosure,  hospital  center,  rest  area  and  antiaircraft  strongpoint. 

In  regard  to  active  defense  against  Allied  air  power,  the  pocketed 
enemy  never  relented.  This  was  forcibly  called  to  the  attention  of 
certain  personnel  of  the  AAF  who  were  shot  down  over  the  port  cities, 
for  their  mistakes  in  believing  these  centers  were  in  friendly  hands. 
In  addition  to  the  A  A  defenses  of  the  "Flak  Cities,"  as  Lorient  and 
St.  Nazaire  came  to  be  called,  Quiberon  Peninsula  jutting  into  the 
Bay  of  Biscay  between  the  two  pockets  was  one  long  line  of  antiaircraft 
guns.  La  Rochelle,  Royan  and  Pointe  de  Gavre,  outside  the  Division 
area  to  the  south,  also  contributed  their  share  to  the  antiaircraft  menace. 

The  Germans  were  credited  with  radio,  air,  and  submarine  com- 
munication with  the  Vaterland.  Mail  planes  were  frequently  identified 
over  the  Division  area  and  on  two  occasions  dropped  mail  sacks  fell 
within  the  American  lines,  giving  the  G-2  and  order-of-battle  personnel 
of  the  94th  valuable  information.  Substantiated  reports  also  hinted 
that  the  pockets  were  receiving  aid  from  Spain,  via  submarine.  During 
the  stay  of  the  Division  in  Brittany,  changes  in  command  personnel 
at  the  besieged  ports  conclusively  proved  that  submarines  were  being 
used  successfully.  It  was  also  soon  evident  that  the  two  pockets  were 
in  communication  with  each  other  by  means  of  surface  craft  that  plied 
the  waters  between  these  ports. 


Origiral  from 
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*•  '  •  f 


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litutunani  Colonel  Albert  t.  Tumor,  jr  .  iMWji'om  Sfeaof  Dflfcsr..  a*fc»  roacf  rfirscd'ont  of  M<-„i,.*v; 

D*«oux,  Sfot.cnmcf.r  of  M««K 

lb  the  division  zone  communication*  -wfre  an  everpres$in£ 
n  and  the  $4*  Signal  Company  laid  wer  l000  miles  of  w.re 
npting  a  solution-  Extensive  use  was  made  by  the  signalmen  of 
French  phone  facilities  and  captured  Gennan  materiel,  One  hundred 


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32 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


also  resorted  to  liaison  officers,  partly  because  of  their  lack  of  other 
adequate  means  of  communication  and  partly  because  of  the  chance 
for  errors,  due  to  language  difficulties,  in  the  transmission  of  vital 
messages. 

Because  of  the  vastly  extended  front  and  the  miscellaneous  French 
forces  operating  within  the  Division  zone,  the  supply  situation  was 
an  extremely  difficult  one.  During  the  four  months  the  Division  re- 
mained in  Brittany,  1,847,888  rations  and  1,357,108  gallons  of  gasoline 
were  drawn  by  the  94th  and  its  attachments.  To  keep  pace  with  the 
demands  placed  upon  it,  it  was  necessary  for  the  94th  Quartermaster 
Company  to  establish  two  separate  railheads.  One  of  these  was  located 
at  Baud  to  supply  the  Lorient  sector  and  the  other  at  Messac  to  handle 
the  needs  of  the  forces  in  front  of  St.  Nazaire.  At  both  installations 
use  was  made  of  prisoner  of  war  labor.  To  supply  the  attached  cavalry 
units  stretched  along  the  Loire  River,  special  arrangements  were  made 
with  the  supply  depots  located  at  Le  Mans.  During  the  period  from 
September  10  to  December  31,  1944,  6,287  long  tons  of  ammunition, 
a  good  deal  of  which  was  hauled  on  organic  transportation,  was  placed 
in  the  ASP.  Of  this  amount,  3,487  long  tons  were  expended  against 
the  enemy.  Throughout  this  entire  period,  unit  distribution  was  made 
to  the  regiments  thereby  releasing  all  their  transportation  for  tac- 
tical use. 

To  provide  adequate  medical  support  for  both  sectors,  the  319th 
Medical  Battalion  split  its  clearing  company.  One  station  went  into 
operation  about  a  mile  north  of  Nozay,  in  the  St.  Nazaire  area,  while 
the  second,  serving  the  Lorient  sector,  was  set  up  near  Pont  Scorff. 
In  spite  of  the  handicap  of  divided  forces,  efficient  service  was  main- 
tained at  all  times.  The  battalion  headquarters  worked  in  conjunction 
with  the  installation  at  Nozay,  occupying  a  chateau  in  the  vicinity  of 
the  St.  Nazaire  sector's  clearing  station. 


Drigiral  from 
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Chapter  7:  THE  FFI 


HEN  GENERAL  MALONY'S  94th  Infantry  Division  took 
over  the  task  of  containing  the  German  forces  in  the  ports  of 
Lorient  and  St.  Nazaire,  it  was  not  operating  alone.  Within 
the  Division  area  were  many  thousands  of  French  fighting  men,  mem- 
bers of  the  FFI  (French  Forces  of  the  Interior,  also  called  Alaquis) 
or  of  the  FTP  (French  Partisans) .  For  the  most  part  these  troops  were 
patriots  although  there  were  some  who  had  jumped  on  the  bandwagon 
after  the  Americans  assumed  control  in  Brittany.  These  French  ele- 
ments were  all  poorly  organized  and  ill  equipped.  There  was  little 
evidence  of  a  definite  chain  of  command  and  tables  of  organization 
and  equipment  were  non-existent.  Battalions  varied  in  strength  from 
two  hundred  to  eighteen  hundred  men,  while  arms  and  equipment  con- 
sisted of  items  dropped  by  the  Allies  and  articles  seized  from  the 
enemy.  There  was  no  standard  uniform  or  badge  of  recognition.  The 
troops  lacked  training  and  discipline;  units  were  loosely  knit  and 
jealous  of  their  integrity. 

A  great  deal  of  friction  existed  among  the  various  factions  of  the 
French  military.  Not  only  did  the  FFI  resent  the  higher  pay  earned 
by  the  soldiers  of  the  communist  FTP,  but  they  disagreed  with  their 
political  beliefs.  The  FTP,  which  was  a  much  smaller  organization 
than  the  Maquis,  paid  its  soldiers  approximately  three  times  the  wages 
of  the  FFI,  and,  more  important  still,  paid  them  with  greater  regularity. 
Furthermore,  both  the  FFI  and  the  FTP  looked  down  on  the  French 
regular  army  troops  who  later  came  into  the  Division  area.  The  regu- 
lars were  referred  to  by  the  guerrillas  as  "moth-ball"  soldiers  because 
of  the  fact  that  they  had  gone  into  hiding  during  the  occupation  and 
had  not  participated  extensively  in  the  sabotage  and  underground 
activities  conducted  by  the  other  two  organizations. 

Gradually,  however,  as  the  political  situation  in  France  began  to 
crystallize,  General  Charles  de  Gaulle  came  into  his  own  and  took 
steps  to  revitalize  and  reorganize  the  military.  The  French  disarmed 
the  FTP  units,  then  withdrew  them  from  the  lines.  Efforts  were  made 
also  to  inject  a  core  of  experienced  regular  army  personnel  into  the 
Maquis  units  and,  in  the  final  phase,  units  of  the  FFI  were  absorbed 
by  the  new  French  regular  army.  These  changes  were  spread  over  a 
period  of  months  and  it  was  not  until  early  in  1945  that  the  French 
Army  and  not  the  FFI  became  the  dominant  factor  on  the  scene  in 
western  France. 

Prior  to  D-day,  one  of  the  best  sources  of  supply  possessed  by  the 
underground  forces  in  France  was  the  prearranged  drops  made  by 
Allied  aircraft,  to  keep  the  resistance  groups  functioning.  But,  with 

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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


the  conquest  of  Normandy  and  Brittany,  this  aid  to  the  French  ceased. 
It  was  then  the  problem  of  the  Allied  ground  forces  and  the  French 
government  to  keep  these  troops  supplied.  The  French  countryside, 
ravaged  by  years  of  occupation,  its  rail  and  communications  facilities 
disrupted  by  the  retreating  enemy  and  the  normal  attrition  of  battle, 
could  do  little  toward  solving  the  problem.  On  the  other  hand,  Ameri- 
can forces  were  racing  across  France  and  the  US  First  and  Third 
Armies  were  constantly  clamoring  for  more  and  more  ammunition,  fuel 
and  food.  All  these  items  had  to  come  through  the  beachhead  ports, 
which  were  taxed  to  the  utmost.  As  a  result,  supplies  for  the  French 
underground  groups  rated  only  a  low  priority.  Initially,  units  of  the 
94th  attempted  to  supply  the  French  forces  working  side  by  side  with 
them,  but  this  soon  proved  an  overwhelming  task.  Also,  it  tended  to 
defeat  the  Division's  long-range  program  for  making  the  French  self- 
sustaining. 

Captain  Samuel  H.  Hays,  Assistant  G-3,  and  Captain  John  W. 
Schaub,  Assistant  G-4,  undertook  the  task  of  working  out  tables  of  or- 
ganization and  equipment  for  the  French  guerrilla  units  soon  after  they 
came  under  division  control.  The  result  of  their  efforts  provided  a  sound 
basis  for  requisitioning  purposes,  introduced  an  outline  for  uniformity 
of  weapons  and  personnel  within  the  battalions  and  enabled  the  Divi- 
sion to  proceed  with  plans  for  supplementing  their  equipment.  Arms 
and  equipment  captured  by  the  Allies  during  the  Brittany  campaign 
were  released  to  the  Division  by  higher  headquarters  and  these  were 
turned  over  to  the  French.  Through  American  supply  channels  2,344 
rifles,  1,817  carbines,  283  machine  pistols,  twenty-four  mortars,  nine- 
teen 105mm  howitzers,  five  155mm  howitzers  and  nineteen  other 
artillery  pieces  ranging  in  caliber  from  20mm  AA  guns  to  88mm  high- 
velocity  weapons  were  issued,  along  with  ammunition  for  all  these 
pieces.  This  improved  French  fire  power  greatly.  Communications 
Zone  was  able  to  procure  for  the  Division  several  thousand  French 
rifles  and  these  were  also  distributed  to  the  FFI.  By  exchanging  rifles 
between  particular  French  battalions  a  degree  of  uniformity  was  in- 
troduced which  eliminated  to  some  extent  the  serious  ammunition 
supply  problem  caused  by  the  fact  that  units  often  had  Czech,  Dutch, 
Belgian,  Russian,  British,  French  and  American  weapons  in  a  single 
command.  Two  artillery  batteries,  Batterie  LeRoy  armed  with  four 
105mm  German  Field  Howitzers  and  Batterie  Finistere  equipped  with 
three  modified  German  Schneider  155mm  Howitzers,  were  trained  and 
supervised  by  the  men  of  the  356th  Field  Artillery  Battalion.  Two 
more  French  batteries  were  organized  and  trained  by  a  cadre  from  the 


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35 


919th  Field  Artillery.  Armament  for  the  latter  batteries  was  American 
3-inch  guns  mounted  on  makeshift  turntables  for  additional  traverse. 

In  mid-October  of  1944,  the  French  set  up  headquarters  in  Vannes 
and  Nantes  to  act  as  higher  echelons  for  the  subordinate  French  units 
in  the  immediate  zone  of  the  94th.  All  questions  and  problems  were 
referred  through  these  channels  in  an  effort  to  unify  requests  and  to 
determine  approximate  needs,  which  were  extremely  difficult  to  com- 
pute due  to  the  lack  of  administrative  organization  and  experienced 
supply  personnel. 

On  the  23d  of  December,  the  French  opened  their  own  railheads 
at  Redon  and  Nantes.  At  the  same  time,  plans  were  under  way  for 
the  opening  of  a  third  railhead  to  supply  their  troops  at  Lorient;  the 
latter  was  put  into  operation  after  the  94th  departed  for  the  Western 
Front. 

Initially,  coordination  with  the  French  proved  extremely  difficult  for 
it  was  necessary  to  depend  upon  a  policy  of  mutual  cooperation  which 
was  not  always  successful.  In  all  fairness  it  must  be  admitted  that 
this  was  due  in  large  part  to  the  lack  of  familiarity  on  the  part  of 
Maquis  staff  officers  with  US  Army  methods.  Internal  politics  and  the 
barrier  of  language  also  hindered  mutual  advancement. 

On  September  29,  1944,  General  Simpson  visited  the  Division  at 
Chateaubriant,  and  discussed  at  length  with  General  Malony  the  exist- 
ing situation  in  front  of  the  Channel  ports.  Together  they  reviewed 
past  operations  and  the  army  commander  informed  the  CG  of  the  94th 
that  original  plans  had  not  contemplated  the  Division's  being  assigned 
this  mission.  He  further  stated  that  there  would,  in  all  likelihood,  be 
new  developments  for  the  94th  by  the  middle  of  November.  During 
the  visit  of  the  army  commander,  General  Malony  asked  for  additional 
equipment  for  the  French  and  was  informed  again  that  the  needs  of 
the  First  and  Third  Armies  were  paramount;  FFI  battalions  were  on  a 
very  low  priority.  General  Simpson  expressed  his  gratification  with 
the  Division's  conduct  but  announced  with  regret  that  when  the  Ninth 
Army  moved  to  the  Western  Front  the  94th  would  remain  behind 
passing  to  the  control  of  12th  Army  Group. 

On  October  2,  1944,  Colonel  Earl  C.  Bergquist,  Division  Chief  of 
Staff,  held  a  conference  at  Chateaubriant  which  was  attended  by  the 
ranking  French  leaders.  This  conference,  the  first  of  many,  opened  the 
94th  Division's  campaign  to  sponsor  better  relations  between  the  two 
nationalities  and  improve  the  fighting  efficiency  of  the  French.  Methods 
of  operation,  troop  dispositions  and  chain  of  command  were  discussed, 
in  addition  to  the  ever-pressing  problem  of  supply  for  the  FFI  battal- 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


ions.  As  a  result  of  this  meeting,  the  Division  made  delivery  on  the 
6th  of  the  month  of  the  initial  shipment  of  rations  and  gasoline  agreed 
upon  at  the  conference.  Beginning  on  that  date,  daily  allocation  to 
the  Maquis  was  10,000  rations  and  600  gallons  of  gasoline. 

A  short  time  later,  Captain  Le  Flock  of  the  French  Navy  presented 
himself  at  the  Division  command  post  in  Chateaubriant  to  announce 
that  the  French  Navy  would  begin  operations  shortly  from  a  head- 
quarters in  Vannes.  Available  ships,  it  was  learned,  were  little  more 
than  armed  fishing  smacks  but  they  later  proved  a  most  valuable  aid 
in  spying  on  German  shipping  and  keeping  Division  G-2  posted  on 
enemy  activities  on  and  around  the  islands  in  the  Bay  of  Biscay. 

Early  in  October  the  French  Air  Squadron,  Groupe  Patrie,  com- 
manded by  Major  Lapios,  came  under  control  of  the  94th  Division. 
This  unit,  equipped  with  eleven  A-24  dive  bombers,  was  used  pri- 
marily for  reconnaissance  missions.  However,  during  the  first  month 
with  the  94th,  Groupe  Patrie  flew  84  sorties,  dropped  30,900  pounds 
of  bombs  and  on  several  occasions  strafed  enemy  positions. 

On  October  6,  1944,  a  Colonel  Michelin  appeared  at  Division  Head- 
quarters announcing  that  he  was  the  new  commander  of  the  IV  Region 
of  the  French  Forces  of  the  Interior  and  that  his  command  post  was 
located  at  Rennes.  In  conference  with  General  Malony  he  discussed 
an  extensive  reorganization  of  his  forces  which  he  would  undertake 
in  the  near  future.  Following  this  visit,  Colonel  Michelin  informed 
Division  by  letter  that  he  had  also  assumed  control  of  the  FFI  forces 
at  St.  Nazaire.  Shortly  thereafter,  General  Hary,  who  had  been  com- 
manding the  IV  Region,  and  his  Chief  of  Staff,  Colonel  Payen,  called 
on  the  Division  Commander  to  report  that  Colonel  Michelin  was  acting 
without  proper  orders  or  authority  and  that  General  Hary  continued 
as  CG  of  the  region  in  question. 

In  the  meantime,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Felix,  who  had  commanded 
the  FFI  at  St.  Nazaire,  proceeded  to  Paris  after  being  relieved  by 
Michelin,  and  reported  to  General  de  Gaulle.  This  resulted  in  his 
being  promoted  to  the  rank  of  colonel  and  officially  confirmed  as  com- 
mander of  the  French  forces  in  front  of  St.  Nazaire.  With  a  new 
staff,  Colonel  Felix  returned  to  Brittany  on  the  17th  of  October  and 
resumed  operations.  The  French  picture  was  further  clarified  on  the 
20th,  possibly  as  a  result  of  Colonel  Felix's  visit  to  General  de  Gaulle, 
when  General  de  Larminat  visited  the  division  command  post  to  pay 
his  respects.  General  de  Larminat  had  been  placed  in  over-all  com- 
mand of  the  French  forces  employed  between  Bordeaux  and  Lorient 
and  was  to  operate  under  the  direction  of  6th  Army  Group  as  French 
Forces  of  the  West. 


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37 


The  last  major  shift  in  French  command  took  place  on  the  26th  of 
October.  On  that  date,  General  de  Larminat  placed  Colonel  Chomel 
in  charge  at  St.  Nazaire  and  gave  command  of  the  Lorient  area  to 
General  Borgnis  des  Bordes.  Policy  and  command  thus  settled,  the 
French  forces  showed  steady  improvement.  By  the  time  the  94th  left 
Brittany  there  were  twenty-one  organized  battalions  of  French  infantry 
at  St.  Nazaire  and  thirteen  at  Lorient  operating  as  units  of  the  French 
19th  Division  and  Brigade  Charles  Martel.  Between  September  and 
December  of  1944,  the  Division  aided  in  the  training  of  all  these 
battalions  by  conducting  schools,  supplying  instructors  and  giving 
demonstrations.  Subjects  emphasized  were  detection  and  neutraliza- 
tion of  mines  and  booby  traps,  the  installation  of  antipersonnel  mines 
and  the  handling  of  signal  communications.  Division  also  assisted  in 
the  training  of  several  French  artillery  units  which  operated  within 
the  division's  fire  direction  net.  Repeatedly,  American  artillery  for- 
ward observers  were  attached  to  French  patrols  to  provide  supporting 
fire  and  protection,  since  the  French  forces  had  no  independent 
artillery. 


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Chapter  8:  OPERATIONS  IN  BRITTANY 


TO  THE  301st  Infantry  goes  the  honor  of  being  the  first  regi- 
ment of  the  94th  Infantry  Division  to  see  combat  in  World  War 
II.  Colonel  Hagerty's  men  began  relieving  the  6th  Armored 
Division  on  September  9,  1944,  and  completed  this  relief  two  days 
later.  On  the  13th,  control  of  the  sector,  bounded  on  the  east  by  the 
Blavet  River  and  on  the  west  by  the  Leita,  passed  to  the  301st.  The 
front  lines  ran  generally  parallel  to  and  south  of  Quimperle,  Redene, 
Pont  Scorff,  Hennebont  and  Nostang. 

First  contact  was  made  with  the  enemy  on  the  10th,  shortly  after 
Company  K  manned  an  observation  post  in  its  area,  when  a  small 
enemy  thrust,  aimed  at  this  OP,  was  repulsed  with  unknown  casualties 
to  the  attackers.  Later  the  same  day  Company  E  of  the  301st  reported 
that  two  of  its  men  had  been  killed  and  that  the  enemy  attempted  to 
burn  their  bodies  in  a  haystack.  However,  the  bodies  were  recovered 
by  personnel  of  the  company  before  they  were  destroyed.  On  the  fol- 
lowing day,  members  of  Company  B  captured  the  first  prisoners  taken 
by  the  Division;  these  POWs  were  promptly  delivered  to  the  94th 
IPW  Team  by  Lieutenant  Walter  H.  Maddox.  To  add  to  the  list  of 
firsts,  on  this  same  date,  September  11,  1944,  No.  2  piece  of  Battery 
B  of  the  301st  Field  Artillery  fired  the  first  rounds  delivered  by  the 
94th  Division  Artillery  in  the  second  World  War.  On  the  29th  of 
the  month,  Private  First  Class  Dale  Proctor,  Company  K,  301st  Infan- 
try, earned  the  first  Distinguished  Service  Cross  awarded  to  a  member 
of  the  Division.  While  serving  as  a  telephone  operator  and  observer, 
this  soldier  was  severely  wounded  when  the  enemy  concentrated  an 
artillery  barrage  on  and  around  his  OP.  Despite  his  wounds,  Private 
First  Class  Proctor  remained  at  his  post  continuing  to  give  accurate 
fire  directions  while  aid  men  dressed  his  wounds.  Even  then,  although 
suffering  great  pain,  he  pleaded  to  be  allowed  to  continue  directing 
fire;  it  was  necessary  to  pry  the  telephone  from  his  hand  in  order  to 
evacuate  him.  The  following  day  this  soldier  died  of  wounds. 

Colonel  Johnson,  the  CO  of  the  302d  Infantry,  opened  his  command 
post  in  the  vicinity  of  Plouay  on  September  15,  1944  when  he  arrived 
in  the  Lorient  sector  with  his  regimental  headquarters,  antitank  com- 
pany and  1st  Battalion.  The  following  day,  the  2d  and  3d  Battalions 
arrived  and  rejoined  the  regiment.  That  afternoon  the  302d  was  com- 
mitted with  all  three  battalions  going  into  the  line.  The  1st  Battalion 
was  employed  on  the  right,  holding  the  line  from  the  Scorff  River  to 
the  vicinity  of  Caudan;  the  2d  Battalion  took  positions  in  the  center 
of  the  regimental  front,  extending  from  Caudan  to  Hennebont  on  the 
Blavet  River;  the  3d  Battalion  was  committed  on  the  left,  along  a  line 

38 


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accurate  enemy  time  fixe.  One  enlisted  mm  was  .kill* 
wounded  On  .the  19th,  lieutenant-  Herman  W.  Sidebottom  ted  * 


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area  where  it  encountered  a  group  of  Germans  in  prepared  positions. 
A  fire  fight  ensued  in  which  four  of  the  enemy  were  killed  and  ten 
prisoners  were  taken.  Among  the  latter  was  an  officer,  the  first  cap- 
tured by  the  Division. 

Hardly  had  the  94th  completed  plans  for  besieging  Lorient,  when 
its  containing  mission  was  extended  to  include  the  German  forces 
in  the  pocket  at  St.  Nazaire.  General  Malony  immediately  left  for 
Le  Mans  by  liaison  plane,  to  contact  the  commanding  general  of  the 
83d  Infantry  Division,  whose  troops  the  94th  was  to  relieve.  When 
the  CG  returned,  plans  were  formulated  calling  for  a  shift  of  the  bulk 
of  the  infantry  to  the  St,  Nazaire  sector.  The  artillery  was  to  be  split 
between  the  two  sectors  with  the  greater  strength  remaining  at  Lorient. 

Division  Field  Order  No.  2  was  issued  on  the  15th,  directing  the 
organization  of  the  Nantes  Task  Force,  commanded  by  Brigadier  Gen- 
eral Henry  B.  Cheadle,  Assistant  Division  Commander.  Composition 
of  this  force  was  as  follows:  376th  Infantry  Regiment;  919th  Field 
Artillery  Battalion;  473d  AAA  Battalion  (Automatic  Weapons,  Self- 
Propelled);  Company  C,  319th  Engineer  Battalion;  Company  C,  319th 
Medical  Battalion;  and  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  D,  319th  Medical 
Battalion.  In  addition,  there  were  FFI  troops  in  the  sector  of  the 
Nantes  Task  Force,  but  no  accurate  estimate  of  their  strength  or  com- 
position was  then  available. 

As  the  376th  Infantry  had  not  yet  cleared  the  assembly  area  in  the 
vicinity  of  Rennes,  the  original  orders  to  proceed  to  Plouay  were 
countermanded  and  the  regiment  was  instructed  to  proceed  directly  to 

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UNIVERSITY  t)E  MICHIGAN ' 


42 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


Almost  immediately  following  the  relief  of  the  331st  Infantry, 
Colonel  McClune  requested  and  secured  permission  for  a  limited  ad- 
vance to  straighten  his  lines  and  generally  improve  the  forward  posi- 
tions. Without  opposition  from  the  enemy,  advances  of  up  to  fifteen 
hundred  yards  were  made  which  brought  the  towns  of  Le  Temple, 
Fay-de-Bretagne  and  Blain  well  behind  the  regimental  front. 

To  maintain  effective  contact  between  the  divided  elements  of  the 
Division  in  front  of  the  two  Channel  ports,  Captain  Scott  C  Ashton, 
commanding  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop,  was  directed  to  patrol 
the  area  between  the  right  boundary  of  the  Nantes  Task  Force  and 
the  left  of  the  containing  force  at  Lorient.  Because  of  the  great  area 
to  be  patrolled,  the  I&R  Platoon  of  the  302d  Infantry  was  temporarily 
attached  to  the  Recon  Troop,  which  the  Division  Commander  initially 
decided  to  keep  under  his  own  control.  In  addition  to  maintaining 
contact  between  the  two  pockets,  the  troop  established  liaison  with 
the  FFI  units  in  its  area  and  operated  an  outpost  in  the  village  of  Etel. 

On  September  22,  1944,  the  1st  Battalion,  301st,  at  Lorient,  relieved 
the  1st  and  2d  Battalions  of  the  302d  Infantry  which  then  passed  into 
Division  reserve  in  the  vicinity  of  Plouay.  This  relief  was  the  be- 
ginning of  sixty-five  consecutive  days  in  the  line  for  all  three  battalions 
of  the  301st  plus  the  3d  Battalion  302d.  Both  the  1st  and  2d  Bat- 
talions, 302d  remained  in  Division  reserve  for  a  short  period  during 
which  readjustments  were  made  in  the  Lorient  sector;  following  this, 
the  302d  Infantry,  less  its  3d  Battalion,  moved  by  motor  to  the  area 
of  the  Nantes  Task  Force.  On  the  28th  the  1st  Battalion  took  over 
positions  in  the  new  sector  on  the  right  of  the  376th,  while  the  2d 
Battalion  acted  as  local  reserve.  The  1st  Battalion,  302d,  plus  one 
platoon  of  the  regimental  Antitank  Company  and  a  platoon  of  the 
Cannon  Company,  supported  by  a  battery  of  the  688th  Field  Artillery 
Battalion,  took  over  the  Foret  du  Gavre  from  Company  L  of  the 
376th.  These  woods  viewed  on  a  map  or  studied  from  the  air  pre- 
sented an  unusual  picture.  From  a  plaza-like  junction  in  the  center  of 
the  woods,  ten  roads  radiated  to  form  the  spokes  of  a  huge  wheel. 
These  routes  were  arrow-straight  and  led  to  the  outer  perimeter  of 
the  forest.  Company  B  took  over  the  "cart-wheel"  which  was  de- 
scribed as  a  "spooky  place  where  your  back  is  always  exposed";  Com- 
pany C  dug  in  near  La  Piardierre;  while  a  platoon  from  Company  A, 
reinforced  with  heavy  machine  guns  and  a  battery  of  the  473d  AAA 
Battalion  moved  to  Redon  to  guard  the  river  and  canal  bridges  lo- 
cated there.  Initially  there  were  three  battalions  of  FFI  in  the  zone 
of  the  302d,  all  disposed  on  the  regiment's  right.   Following  the 


Origiral  from 
UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


:<  V/-.-   MJ  •  -  , 

•  mmM 


mfesf  to.  coariMfl  the  extensive 
once  the  new  boundaries  became 


on  the  need  for  %ht  reconnaissance 
patrolling  which  would be  tecpitred  o 
<^erti^  61 1  ^bk  revest.,  ^lemetn^  of-  the  15th  Cavalry 

Held  Order  No,  3>  dated  Seprm^bcr  21,  1944,  and  e&zctm  the 
fol^  ihe  Division V  mission  to  iocU^e  pr(v- 

to  Auxerre,"  (Auxent  is  ibcatccJ  cast  of  Orleans  and  soi^foast^f 
Paris,  in  central  France.  Thus,  the  Division  front  extended  some  450 


■ 


UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


Auxerre.)  It  assigned  the  15th  Cavalry  Group  (-)  the  task  of  prevent- 
ing enemy  forces  from  entering  the  area  north  of  the  Loire  from  Nantes 
to  Auxerre  and  designated  that  contact  be  maintained  with  the  Nantes 
Task  Force  in  the  vicinity  of  that  city.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Robert 
Quinn,  the  cavalry  group  commander,  organized  the  Loire  area;  with- 
out delay  he  began  his  extensive  patrol  mission  which  was  somewhat 
eased  by  the  fact  that  all  bridges  over  the  Loire  had  either  been  blown 
by  the  Germans  or  knocked  out  by  Allied  air  power. 

General  Malony  now  had  three  separate  and  widely  scattered  zones 
under  his  command:  Lorient,  St.  Nazaire  and  Loire.  In  addition,  the 
94th  Reconnaissance  Troop,  operating  from  Redon  to  Nostang  in  the 
Lorient  sector,  was  patrolling  an  area  with  a  frontage  of  more  than 
fifty  airline  miles.  Not  only  was  the  94th  stretched  from  "hell  to 
breakfast,"  it  had  grown  in  size.  By  mid-October  the  total  number 
of  American  and  French  troops  under  Division  control  exceeded 
thirty-five  thousand  and  the  94th  was  the  only  division  in  the  theater 
with  its  own  private  navy  and  air  force,  Groupe  Patrie. 

Field  Order  No.  3  also  set  up  the  Lorient  Task  Force  and  added 
the  688th  Field  Artillery  Battalion  and  Company  F  of  the  15th  Cavalry 
Reconnaissance  Squadron  to  the  Nantes  Task  Force.  Brigadier  Gen- 
eral Louis  J.  Fortier,  Division  Artillery  Commander,  took  over  the 
former,  composed  of  the  following  units:  301st  Infantry  Regiment; 
3d  Battalion,  302d  Infantry;  301st  Field  Artillery  Battalion;  356th 
Field  Artillery  Battalion;  390th  Field  Artillery  Battalion;  199th  Field 
Artillery  Battalion;  256th  Field  Artillery  Battalion;  94th  Reconnais- 
sance Troop;  Company  F  (composite),  86th  Cavalry  Reconnaissance 
Squadron;  Company  A,  319th  Medical  Battalion;  and  one  platoon, 
Company  D,  319th  Medical  Battalion. 

Because  of  the  extent  of  the  94th's  front,  it  seemed  desirable  that 
the  division  reserve,  which  consisted  of  a  single  battalion,  be  centrally 
located  in  the  event  of  trouble.  Toward  this  end,  the  reserve  was 
moved  from  the  vicinity  of  Plouay  to  the  Foret  de  Domnaiche,  near 
Chateaubriant,  when  the  302d  Infantry  (-)  was  transferred  to  the 
St.  Nazaire  sector.  On  October  6,  1944,  this  reserve  was  moved  to  the 
vicinity  of  Nozay  and  twelve  days  later  shifted  to  La  Gacilly,  in 
attempts  to  find  an  ideal  location  for  hasty  deployment  in  either  sector. 
On  the  27th,  the  Division  reserve  was  again  moved.  This  time  the 
location  chosen  was  the  former  French  Army  training  center  at 
Coetquidan,  in  the  vicinity  of  Guer,  where  in  addition  to  adequate 
billets  there  was  sufficient  and  suitable  ground  for  refresher  training. 

On  the  12th  of  November,  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  was  relieved  by 


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•  '^  ^   „           _  

Bartahoii,  301st;  to  pass  to  Lorienr  sector  reserve,  notthwtst  of  P!uujv- 
Thus.  the  irnval  of  additions!  Premh  miotic  m  thivaf^a  enabled",  each 


the  dayJight  Uours  in  refresher  training/  with  emphasis  on  intmtxy- 
tank  cooperation  ;a»d  rh*  :Ui^ck  of  '.fortified  are*i%  hv  jssauit  reams. 


Opportunities  for  working  with  armor  had  been  ail  too  few  and  this 
trauung  mih  the  tanks  of  the  attached  cavalry  latei  proved  exaemdy 
valuable.  The  rigorous  schedule  followed  by  units  syhiie  they  were;., 
ill  reserve  led  to  the  qb^rvaHon  that, it  was  'possible  ro  ohi?m  more 


—  —   ill  I    -  i       0  M  m  ■  wm 


Digitized  by 


Original  frcm 
UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


sections.  The  Photo  Intelligence  Team  worked  at  the  Division  Head- 
quarters in  Chateaubriant,  and,  after  having  made  a  preliminary  esti- 
mate of  the  needs  of  each  sector,  provided  complete  aerial  photo 
coverage  of  the  respective  fronts.  Patrols  at  both  Lorient  and  St. 
Nazaire  were  expertly  briefed  by  PI  personnel  prior  to  difficult 
missions. 

General  Malony,  his  infantry  restrained  by  definite  orders  against 
offensive  action;  his  artillery  rationed  in  regard  to  ammunition;  his 
zone  of  responsibility  stretched  "over  half  of  France";  and  possessed 
of  only  a  small  reserve,  decided  to  commit  the  Division  to  a  period 
of  intense  battle  indoctrination.  Emphasis  was  placed  on  patrolling 
(the  376th  alone  sent  out  634  between  September  and  December), 
infantry-tank  cooperation,  general  battle  know-how  and  infantry-artil- 
lery cooperation.  This  last  was  developed  to  the  point  where  the  ordi- 
nary rifleman  could  and  did,  over  and  over  again,  call  for  artillery 
fire  on  targets  of  opportunity.  The  Division  was  not  destined  to  remain 
forever  on  the  "forgotten  front,"  and  when  it  emerged  from  hiding, 
the  CG  wanted  it  to  be  able  to  step  into  the  big  league  and  hold  its 
own. 

In  keeping  with  the  policy  of  the  Division  Commander  numerous 
patrols,  both  combat  and  reconnaissance,  were  constantly  sent  out 
from  all  levels:  regiment,  battalion  and  company.  These  activities 
were  carefully  coordinated  by  the  Lorient  and  St.  Nazaire  Task  Force 
Headquarters  (changed  respectively  to  CT  301  Reinforced  and  CT  376 
Reinforced  on  September  21,  1944  and  to  Lorient  Sector  and  St. 
Nazaire  Sector  on  October  13,  1944)  to  eliminate  the  danger  of 
friendly  patrols  encountering  each  other  in  enemy  territory  with  pos- 
sible disastrous  results. 

On  the  2d  of  October  Company  K  of  the  301st  sent  out  a  strong 
combat  patrol  under  Lieutenant  David  H.  Devonald,  II.  Three  FFI 
soldiers  accompanied  the  fifty-odd  Americans  chosen  for  this  mission. 
At  1255  hours,  the  patrol  ran  into  an  ambush  and  was  brought  under 
intense  enemy  small-arms  and  artillery  fire.  As  best  they  could  the 
men  dug  in  under  this  withering  fire.  Requested  artillery  support 
was  promptly  supplied  by  the  301st  Field  Artillery  Battalion,  which 
had  a  forward  observer  with  the  group.  A  relief  patrol  was  organ- 
ized from  personnel  of  Company  I,  commanded  by  Captain  Charles  W. 
Donovan,  but  this  group  was  never  able  to  reach  the  isolated  members 
of  Company  K. 

Private  Harry  Glickman,  a  member  of  the  Company  K  patrol, 
supplied  the  following  description  of  the  engagement: 


Origiral  from 
■UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN—- 


OPERATIONS  IN  BRITTANY 


47 


Everything  ran  well  until  we  got  about  5,000  yards  from  our  lines.  Then 
it  happened.  Two  scouts  dropped  dead  and  two  more  were  wounded,  as  the 
crack  of  rifles  was  heard  from  all  sides.  Ambush!  The  patrol  leader  acted 
quickly  and  deployment  started.  "Call  for  artillery  time  fire  to  cover  us,"  he 
yelled.  If  I  ever  loved  the  artillery  it  was  then  ...  It  was  probably  the  artillery 
that  saved  us  from  annihilation.  Concentration  after  concentration  poured  in  on 
the  Heinies  as  we  withdrew  to  better  positions. 

Then  it  started.  Those  five  hours  of  fighting  against  terrific  odds.  They 
threw  everything  at  us  ...  I  saw  acts  of  bravery  that  day  which  it  seemed 
could  happen  only  in  motion  pictures;  men  charging  machines  guns  and 
wounded  men  firing  their  weapons  with  one  hand  .  .  .  The  Germans  paid  a 
heavy  toll,  but  in  the  end,  we  also  suffered  heavy  casualties.  Twenty-six  wounded 
and  five  dead,  out  of  about  fifty  men. 

Toward  the  end  ...  the  enemy  began  to  organize  and  charge.  There  was 
only  one  thing  to  do.  "Concentration  Seventeen  .  .  .  forty  yards  left  .  .  . 
Time  Fire  .  .  .  For  Effect."  Behind  a  hedgerow  we  waited.  Forty  yards  wasn't 
too  far  for  safety  even  with  a  hedgerow  as  protection.  Twenty  seconds  later 
the  "On  the  way!"  was  sent  over  the  radio  and  we  heard  the  far-away  rumble 
of  the  artillery  .  .  .  Wait  until  you  hear  a  105mm  shell  coming  down  on  you. 
Wait  until  you  hear  twelve  of  them  scream — scream  like  sirens  as  they  start 
their  descent.  The  sound  was  enough  for  the  Germans.  They  dove  for  any 
sort  of  cover  .  .  .  The  top  of  the  hedgerow  snapped  in  pieces  and  came  down 
on  us.  We  could  have  kissed  the  artillery  fellows. 

But  it  was  to  no  avail.  The  enemy  had  many  more  reinforcements  and  our 
relief  was  still  far  off  and  had  been  halted.  A  little  while  later  we  realized 
the  inevitable — the  radio  was  on  the  blink,  ammunition  low  and  men  were 
dying  of  wounds  .  .  .  We  were  ordered  to  give  in. 

They  didn't  treat  us  badly.  They  let  us  keep  our  watches  and  other  valuables 
(except  cigarettes).  What  happened  in  prison  camp  and  how  we  each  lost  about 
twenty  pounds  is  another  story,  but  I  shall  always  remember  the  day  the  German 
captain  called  me  aside,  "Please,"  he  said,  "tell  me,  how  soon  do  I  get  to 
America  after  I  am  captured.  I  have  a  cousin  in  Milwaukee." 

Only  two  members  of  this  patrol  escaped  the  trap.  Information 
obtained  from  French  sources  shortly  after  the  engagement,  to  the 
effect  that  over  one  hundred  Germans  had  been  killed  in  the  encounter, 
was  later  substantiated  when  men  of  the  patrol  returned  to  the  Divi- 
sion following  a  prisoner-of-war  exchange.  It  was  also  learned  at  that 
time  that  the  artillery  forward  observer  with  the  group  had  destroyed 
his  concentration  overlay  to  prevent  its  falling  into  enemy  hands. 
After  its  destruction  he  adjusted  more  than  300  rounds  from  memory. 

On  the  following  day,  the  3d  of  October,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Francis 
H.  Doh's  battalion  of  the  301st  dispatched  a  routine  combat  patrol  in 
the  Pont  Scorff  area.  After  penetrating  the  enemy  lines  to  a  depth  of 
about  one  mile  this  patrol  was  brought  under  intense  German  machine 
gun  fire  and  hopelessly  pinned  down.  Totally  disregarding  the  volume 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


of  hostile  fire,  Private  First  Class  Herbert  Austin  of  Company  F  stood 
up  and  rushed  the  German  position.  Standing  practically  face  to  face 
with  the  occupants  of  the  machine  gun  nest,  firing  his  BAR  from  the 
hip,  Private  First  Class  Austin  shot  it  out  with  the  enemy  gun  crew, 
killing  them  all.  This  fearless  action  prevented  numerous  casualties 
and  enabled  the  patrol  to  continue  and  complete  its  assigned  mission. 

After  securing  permission  from  Division,  on  the  6th  of  October, 
elements  of  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  undertook  an  advance  northeast 
of  Bouvron,  to  shorten  and  strengthen  the  line  of  strongpoints  between 
the  302d  Infantry  and  this  battalion.  Principal  activity  during  the 
operation  centered  in  the  area  along  the  Brest-Nantes  canal  in  the 
vicinity  of  the  village  of  La  Pessouis.  From  positions  south  of  the 
canal  Company  I  jumped  off  in  the  face  of  enemy  artillery  and  small- 
arms  fire  that  was  particularly  heavy  in  the  neighborhood  of  the 
chateau  just  east  of  La  Pessouis.  By  late  afternoon,  the  village  had 
been  taken  and  the  infantry  pushed  to  the  high  ground  beyond.  As 
the  troops  began  to  dig  in  they  were  subjected  to  accurate,  sustained 
fire  from  two  directions.  Apparently  the  artillery  supporting  the  302d, 
across  the  canal,  had  mistaken  Company  I  for  enemy  troops.  It  was 
therefore  decided  to  withdraw;  as  a  result,  the  enemy  reoccupied  the 
town.  Incessantly,  for  the  next  two  days  La  Pessouis  was  pounded  by 
American  artillery  and  mortar  fire.  On  the  8th,  the  town  again  was 
assaulted  and  taken  by  the  3d  Battalion,  376th.  This  time  it  remained 
in  American  hands. 

As  a  result  of  these  operations  the  battalion  front  advanced  approxi- 
mately thirty-five  hundred  yards.  American  losses  totaled  four  killed 
and  six  wounded,  against  more  considerable  casualties  inflicted  upon 
the  enemy,  whose  force  in  opposition  was  estimated  at  two  reinforced 
rifle  companies. 

In  mid-October  the  Division  Artillery  came  into  possession  of  a  new 
weapon,  officially  known  as  the  Launcher,  Rocket,  Multiple,  4.5-inch, 
T-27.  Each  T-27  was  composed  of  ten  banks  of  eight  rocket  tubes  each, 
mounted  on  a  2l/2-ton  truck  which  served  as  a  prime  mover  and  from 
which  the  rockets  were  detonated  electrically.  In  turn,  each  of  the 
artillery  battalions  experimented  with  "The  Fiery  Farts,"  as  these 
counterparts  of  the  German  Nebelwerfer  came  to  be  known,  forming 
temporary  rocket  batteries  for  this  purpose.  While  malfunctions  were 
frequent,  these  rocket  launchers  were  used  repeatedly  against  area 
targets  much  to  the  discomfort  of  the  pocketed  enemy  troops. 

During  the  period  from  the  23d  to  the  28th  of  October,  a  series 
of  truces  were  arranged  with  the  Germans  to  permit  the  French  Red 


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•  'f-  S,  :t 1  ■    ■  ■ 


B*V*?n  four*.**  duty,  PrhQit  fki*  Clasz  N^mo*  J  Pw?* 

*§Htt**t  Buffalo*" 


-  hit  *aiT  in  hh  veil  consfr^u 


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50 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


first  few  such  incidents,  Division  Artillery  adopted  German  tactics  and 
some  "chickens  came  home  to  roost." 

Thinly  held  front  lines,  both  American  and  German,  facilitated 
the  movement  of  line-crossers  and  certain  members  of  the  FFI  became 
particularly  adept  at  this  type  of  work.  From  loyal  French  civilians 
behind  the  enemy  lines  they  obtained  much  valuable  information. 
However,  information  received  was  not  always  accurate  and  G-2  and 
S-2  personnel  were  often  hard  pressed  to  evaluate  correctly  the  intelli- 
gence received. 

On  one  occasion,  working  on  the  report  of  a  line-crosser,  Lieutenant 
"Jimmy"  (FFI  officers  often  used  assumed  names  to  prevent  reprisals 
against  members  of  their  families  still  in  enemy-held  territory)  ar- 
ranged for  a  note  to  be  delivered  to  a  German  battalion  commander, 
who  was  reported  to  be  contemplating  surrender,  asking  for  a  meet- 
ing. At  the  appointed  time,  Lieutenant  "Jimmy,"  Captain  James  S. 
Young,  Lieutenant  Joseph  E.  Glover  and  Private  A.  M.  Brooks,  all  of 
Headquarters  Company,  302d  Infantry,  started  from  Fergerac,  in  the 
St.  Nazaire  sector,  under  a  flag  of  truce  and  walked  to  the  appointed 
meeting  place  along  the  Brest-Nantes  canal  which  separated  the  op- 
posing lines.  Upon  arriving,  Private  Brooks,  who  was  acting  as  in- 
terpreter, hailed  an  enemy  gun  position  beyond  the  canal  from  which 
a  runner  was  sent  for  the  local  commander.  Captain  Young  describes 
what  followed: 

In  about  ten  minutes  a  German  officer  (a  true  Prussian  if  I  ever  saw  one) 
came  striding  down  the  road,  field  boots  and  all.  He  was  wearing  a  raincoat 
so  wc  couldn't  see  his  rank.  He  came  to  the  south  side  of  the  canal,  turned  a 

3uarter-face  and  at  rigid  attention  said:  "Was  Wollen  S/e?"  German  for  "What 
o  you  want?"  Obviously  this  joker  wasn't  the  guy.  I  told  Brooks  to  tell  him 
we  had  come  to  accept  his  surrender,  to  which  he  answered,  "We  are  Germans 
here,  and  Germans  do  not  surrender!  You  must  go  now!"  Whereupon  he 
about-clicked  and  strode  off.  .  .  .  The  next  day  the  FFI  commander  west  of 
Redon  strode  into  FFI  headquarters  very7  indignant.  He  had  first-hand  informa- 
tion that  an  American  battalion  commander,  backed  by  a  battalion  of  infantry 
and  a  battalion  of  tanks,  had  demanded  the  surrender  of  the  Germans  or  he 
would  attack  immediately.  The  FFI  commander  felt  left  out  of  the  show. 

At  midnight  on  the  8th  of  October  1944,  the  94th  Infantry  Division 
passed  to  the  control  of  1 2th  Army  Group,  commanded  by  Lieutenant 
General  Omar  N.  Bradley.  This  change  of  command  was  brought 
about  by  the  movement  of  General  Simpson's  Ninth  Army  (refitted 
and  reorganized  after  the  reduction  of  Brest  on  the  19th  of  September) 
to  the  Western  Front.  The  12th  Army  Group  operating  under  the 
code  name  Eagle  had  a  forward  echelon  in  Luxembourg  City  and  a 


Go  gle 


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OPERATIONS  IN  BRITTANY 


51 


rear  headquarters  in  Verdun.  Division  maintained  contact  with  Group 
by  telephone,  radio  and  liaison  officers.  The  two  former  methods  of 
communication  were  far  from  satisfactory  as  the  distance  from  the 
Division  CP  at  Chateaubriant  to  Eagle  Rear  at  Verdun  was  roughly 
five  hundred  miles  and,  as  time  went  on,  more  and  more  reliance  was 
placed  upon  the  94th's  "carbine-carrying  couriers/'  Often  it  was 
necessary  for  the  liaison  officers  to  proceed  to  Eagle  Forward,  a  factor 
which  increased  the  length  of  the  journey  by  another  seventy-five 
miles.  Liaison  officers  worked  in  shifts  traveling  by  both  artillery  Cub 
planes  and  command  cars  or  jeeps.  For  the  most  part  though,  vehicles 
were  used  since  flying  conditions  in  Brittany  were  usually  unpredictable. 

Early  on  the  morning  of  the  20th  of  October,  the  enemy  launched 
his  first  real  attack  since  the  Division  had  assumed  responsibility  for 
the  pockets.  A  group  of  approximately  250  Germans,  of  the  3d  Com- 
pany, 986th  Kriegsmarine,  attacked  the  position  of  the  1st  Battalion, 
301st.  Three  prisoners  were  taken  from  the  attacking  force;  from  one 
of  these  the  identity  of  the  assaulting  troops  was  learned.  This  pris- 
oner also  stated  that  the  mission  of  his  company  was  to  seize  and  hold 
Grand  Champ,  adding  that  it  was  the  practice  of  his  unit  to  repeat 
an  unsuccessful  attack  after  two  or  three  days  had  elapsed.  The  same 
day,  an  enemy  force  estimated  at  between  one  and  two  hundred  in- 
fantry, effected  a  penetration  of  the  French  line  southwest  of  Nostang 
but  were  beaten  back  by  the  FFI.  This  attack,  which  was  supported 
by  an  artillery  bombardment  on  the  town  of  Nostang,  was  believed 
to  be  a  reconnaissance  in  force.  At  1755  hours  on  the  evening  of  the 
20th,  General  Fortier  reported  to  General  Malony:  "Things  have  been 
very  hot  today.  They've  shelled  us  with  about  2,500  rounds  and  the 
shelling  hasn't  ceased  .  .  .  one  round  comes  over  about  every  fifteen 
seconds/' 

The  following  day  the  French  withdrew  from  the  positions  which 
had  been  under  attack,  but  hasty  orders  from  Division  to  the  local 
French  commanders  returned  the  FFI  to  their  lines  before  the  enemy 
was  able  to  occupy  the  area. 

On  the  28th,  the  Germans  repeated  their  attack  against  the  French 
positions  in  conjunction  with  a  diversionary  thrust  against  the  1st 
Battalion,  301st,  in  the  Hennebont  section.  Such  a  development  had 
been  anticipated.  At  0725  hours,  the  enemy  started  his  push  against 
the  1st  Battalion  with  an  artillery  preparation  of  several  hundred 
rounds.  Forward  OPs  located  some  of  the  enemy  gun  positions  and 
effective  counterbattery  fire  was  employed.  German  infantry  moving 
forward  under  the  cover  of  their  artillery  support  encountered  stiff 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


52 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


opposition.  After  failing  to  penetrate  the  American  lines  they  with- 
drew. Later  in  the  day,  another  hostile  force  estimated  at  a  battalion 
attacked  the  FFI  positions  in  the  vicinity  of  Ste.  Helene,  south  of 
Nostang.  Advancing  behind  a  force  of  five  armored  cars,  the  attackers 
succeeded  in  driving  the  French  back  from  the  Etel  River,  thus  securing 
the  high  ground  that  was  obviously  the  object  of  this  thrust. 

Orders  were  received  on  the  29th  of  October,  from  12th  Army 
Group,  to  hold  in  reserve  one  battalion  as  a  counterattack  force  against 
possible  German  landings  on  the  coasts  of  Normandy  or  Brittany 
from  the  Channel  Islands.  This  directive  came  as  a  result  of  a  recom- 
mendation from  the  G-2  of  Brittany  Base  Section,  Communication 
Zone,  who  foresaw  the  possibility  of  harassing  German  forces  landing 
from  the  islands  of  Guernsey  or  Jersey  which  were  held  by  a  force  of 
between  twenty-six  thousand  and  thirty-one  thousand  enemy  troops. 
The  new  responsibility  was  assigned  to  Division  reserve,  in  addition 
to  its  other  duties,  and  a  complete  reconnaissance  conducted  of  the 
Normandy  and  Brittany  coasts  to  determine  accurately  possible  points 
of  attack.  Routes  of  advance  and  areas  of  deployment  were  checked 
and  charted.  A  detailed  plan  then  was  formulated.  As  each  suc- 
cessive battalion  took  up  the  duties  of  Division  reserve,  the  battalion 
staff  officers  familiarized  themselves  with  these  plans,  which  could  be 
put  into  effect  on  an  hour's  notice.  Because  of  this  additional  mission 
location  of  the  reserve  was  not  changed  for  there  was  always  the  pos- 
sibility that  it  would  have  to  be  committed  within  the  Division  zone. 

At  the  request  of  the  commanding  general  of  each  sector,  a  series 
of  boundary  changes  were  made  on  the  2d  of  November.  The  bound- 
ary between  the  Lorient  and  St.  Nazaire  sectors  was  shifted  from  the 
Vilaine  River,  to  a  line  connecting  Ploermel,  Malesdroit,  Questambert, 
Muzillac,  Billiers  and  the  lighthouse  on  the  coast  south  of  Billiers. 
This  further  increased  the  zone  of  the  St.  Nazaire  sector.  Conse- 
quently, on  the  14th  of  the  month,  General  Cheadle  divided  the  St. 
Nazaire  Sector  into  North  and  South  Sub-sectors.  Colonel  Johnson, 
CO  of  the  302d  Infantry,  was  given  command  of  the  former  while 
Colonel  McClune  of  the  376th  took  over  the  latter.  All  FFI  and  FTP 
troops  within  these  sub-sectors  came  under  the  control  of  the  appro- 
priate regimental  commander. 

The  defenses  of  the  Lorient  Sector  were  further  improved  on  the 
14th  of  November  when  all  French  forces  north  and  northwest  of 
the  line  Kerambourn,  Lovan,  Kermahan  and  Kermoel  were  placed 
under  the  control  of  General  Fortier,  Commanding  General  of  the 
Lorient  Sector.  From  the  same  line  east  to  the  Brest-Nantes  canal,  a 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


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^ ^A^^^  ?    •>  «&K     :'  W»  .'■•■■•1 

a.o£  ,„„jc-r  ,fe  ;0,nn!!„,d  „.  m  French  IW*..<  fe  te.dcs. 

*iis  established  on  the  26th. The  to i  lowing  day,  these-  changes  were 


parachute 

Having  long  realised  that  his  troops  V- ere  going  >u!e  trojn  tnact'-' 
and  the  monotony  of  life  m  a  Stork  front.  GenerM  Maiony  din 
frequent  communication  to  higher  h^ad^oartets  asking  tot  ^v.th 
of  mission  or  permission  .to launch  'small -scale,  -attacks ;  .against.-  the-. 


- 


bunded  .prior  to  departure  for  the  Western  Front  and  it  took  place 
the  «iRk  of  December  ?-R  1944.: 

ft  had  long  been  thought  that  it  the  German  garrison  * 
could  be  separated  from  the  forces  on  the  Qutherou  Pc-nitV 


en  insula,  the 


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55 


west  of  the  Etel  River  and  support  fire  from  the  He  de  Groix.  As  a 
result  of  this  action  fifty-nine  prisoners  were  taken,  nine  bunkers  were 
reduced  and  the  desired  positions  obtained.  American  losses  were  ex- 
tremely light.  A  hit  on  one  of  the  AT  guns,  firing  direct  fire,  killed 
two  of  the  crew  and  caused  the  destruction  of  the  piece.  In  addition, 
there  were  only  four  wounded. 

On  the  15th  of  December,  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop  outpost 
on  the  He  de  Houat,  between  Belle  Isle  and  St.  Nazaire,  which  was 
maintained  to  report  on  enemy  shipping  between  the  pockets,  was 
attacked  by  a  force  of  about  eighty  Germans  who  landed  by  motor- 
boat.  Three  other  enemy  vessels,  containing  about  120  additional 
troops,  remained  outside  the  island's  harbor  to  protect  the  landing 
party. 

At  the  same  time  the  German  landing  party  attacked  the  outpost, 
a  French  naval  smack  carrying  Staff  Sergeant  Orval  L.  Love,  supply 
sergeant  of  the  Recon  Troop,  to  the  He  de  Houat  was  engaged  by  the 
enemy  craft  off  the  beach.  In  the  fight  that  followed  the  captain  of 
the  French  vessel  was  killed  and  Sergeant  Love  was  wounded  and 
taken  prisoner.  The  four  Recon  men  manning  the  island  outpost  were 
overwhelmed  and  their  radio  was  captured  intact.  Following  the  fight, 
Sergeant  Love  was  removed  to  the  German  hospital  at  Lorient  while 
the  other  cavalrymen  were  taken  to  the  PW  cage  on  Belle  Isle. 

News  of  the  beginning  of  Von  Rundstedt's  winter  offensive  in  the 
Ardennes  reached  the  Division  late  on  the  16th  of  December.  Se- 
curity measures  were  immediately  intensified,  as  it  was  thought  likely 
that  the  enemy  would  drop  saboteurs  and  parachutists  throughout 
France  to  cause  confusion  in  the  rear  areas  by  disrupting  communica- 
tions and  attacking  supply  depots.  The  94th  was  also  alerted  against 
the  possibility  of  the  German  forces  in  the  pockets  staging  breakout 
attacks  to  divert  American  reserves  as  was  openly  hinted  by  German 
POWs  in  the  cages  at  Rennes.  Throughout  the  remainder  of  Decem- 
ber, the  Division  watched  and  waited,  but  by  the  end  of  the  month 
it  was  clear  that  the  desperate  drive  of  the  enemy  was  being  checked 
and  that  the  danger  was  past. 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


Top:  Lieutenant  Baldwin  of  the  6th  Armored  Diviiion  h  belp&d  from  a  German  ambulance, 
preparatory  to  being  moved  by  boat  to  the  American-held  side  of  the  Etel  River.  Bottom: 
Lieutenant  William  J.  Reynolds  if  moved  to  the  Etel  quay  as  Lieutenant  Colonel  Clarence  R, 
Brown,  Oivi$ion  Surgeon,  checks  other  American  wounded  just  repatriated. 


Chapter  9:  POW  EXCHANGES 


A  NDREW  G.  HODGES  of  the  American  Red  Cross  joined  the 
r\  302d  Infantry  at  Camp  McCain,  Mississippi,  and  shipped  over- 
XjX-seas  with  the  regiment.  Hodges,  who  had  been  a  football  and 
basketball  star  at  Howard  University  in  Birmingham,  Alabama,  was 
kept  out  of  service  by  a  bad  right  arm  that  was  a  memento  of  his 
football  days.  While  in  Brittany  Mr.  Hodges  took  over  the  duties  of 
Division  Red  Cross  Field  Director  when  that  position  became  vacant. 
Fearing  that  stories  concerning  poor  treatment  of  American  prisoners 
by  the  Germans  within  the  pockets  might  have  some  foundation  in 
fact,  Andy  went  to  work.  Entirely  on  his  own,  although  the  sector 
commanders  were  aware  of  his  activities,  Hodges  began  to  make  trips 
through  the  German  lines  under  a  Red  Cross  flag,  carrying  literature, 
cigarettes,  toilet  articles  and  candy  to  American  and  other  Allied 
prisoners  of  war  at  Lorient  and  St.  Nazaire. 

On  his  fourth  journey  behind  the  enemy  lines,  Hodges  remarked  to 
several  German  officers  that  he  would  not  have  to  make  so  many 
trips  if  a  swap  could  be  arranged.  The  remark  was  dropped  in  an 
offhand  manner  to  see  what  reaction  the  Germans  would  make.  Noth- 
ing developed  immediately,  but  on  his  next  visit  Hodges  was  informed 
that  the  German  command  was  willing  to  make  a  prisoner  exchange. 
This  was  reported  to  Colonel  Bergquist,  the  Chief  of  Staff,  and  Lieu- 
tenant Colonel  William  H.  Patterson,  G-l.  Together  they  consulted 
General  Malony,  who  agreed  to  the  exchange  if  higher  headquarters 
would  give  its  approval;  the  "Chief"  soon  obtained  the  necessary  per- 
mission over  the  signature  of  the  Commanding  General  of  ETOUSA. 

Although  the  initial  conversations  took  place  at  St.  Nazaire,  the 
first  exchange  was  to  be  effected  within  the  Lorient  pocket.  The  agree- 
ment called  for  a  trade  of  personnel :  rank  for  rank,  branch  for  branch, 
with  physical  condition  as  nearly  equal  as  possible.  The  prisoner-of- 
war  camp  at  Rennes  was  combed  for  volunteers,  and,  after  some  5,000 
Germans  had  been  questioned,  sufficient  personnel  were  gathered  to 
effect  an  exchange. 

An  armistice  was  arranged  for  November  17,  1944,  and  repre- 
sentatives of  both  sides  met  in  an  abandoned  school  in  the  little 
fishing  village  of  Etel,  west  of  Auray  and  south  of  Nostang.  Here 
the  last-minute  details  were  worked  out.  The  Germans  minutely  in- 
spected the  volunteers,  rejecting  thirteen  of  the  seventy-one  Supermen 
in  the  lineup.  Also,  at  this  point  two  of  the  volunteers  ceased  to  be 
such.  Lieutenant  Schmidt,  the  German  G-2  of  the  Lorient  Sector, 
remarked  that  since  there  were  not  enough  suitable  volunteers,  Colonel 
Bergquist  could  have  only  fifty-six  of  the  seventy-one  American  pris- 

57 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


62  T  HE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 

"What  do  you  care  about  just  one  Englishman?"  the  Germans  asked.  "You 
don't  even  know  his  name." 

"The  hell  I  don't.  He's  Captain  Michael  R.  O.  Foot."1 

The  German  leaned  forward:  "I'm  afraid  we  can't  exchange  Captain  Foot. 
He's  given  us  a  lot  of  trouble.  He's  escaped  four  times  and  been  recaptured 
four  times.  He  knows  too  much." 

"In  that  case,"  Hodges  replied,  "I  can  only  say  that  the  exchange  can't  come 
off.  We  want  them  all,  or  none." 

"You  would  sacrifice  the  freedom  of  the  other  men  for  just  one  English 
officer?" 

"Yes,  or  for  just  one  French  private.  It's  all  or  none." 

Finally  the  Germans  said  they  would  exchange  Foot  for  five  German  majors. 

"Then  you  admit  that  one  British  captain  is  the  equal  of  five  German 
majors?"  Hodges  said. 

When  the  interpreter  translated  this  for  the  ranking  German  officer,  he 
banged  his  fist  on  the  table,  and  cried  "Nein,  nein." 

After  further  parley,  the  Germans  proposed  three  captains  and  three  lieuten- 
ants for  Foot.  Hodge  refused.  In  the  end  the  Germans  agreed  to  swap  Foot 
for  one  German  major  or  captain.2  The  agreement  was  then  sealed  on  a  glass 
of  brandy.  Hodges  was  blindfolded  and  came  back. 

It  proved  impossible  to  find  a  German  captain  or  major,  on  the 
Continent,  wearing  the  Iron  Cross,  who  was  willing  to  go  back  into 
the  lines.  This  necessitated  flying  a  German  field  officer  from  England 
to  complete  the  quota.  Due  to  inclement  flying  weather,  Captain 
Foot's  opposite  had  not  been  delivered  by  the  time  set  for  the  ex- 
change. Therefore,  Hodges  oflPered  to  deliver  the  major  as  soon  as  he 
arrived  and  the  Germans,  who  trusted  Andy,  agreed  without  question. 
The  exchange  proceeded  without  further  interruption. 

The  Americans  freed  as  a  result  of  this  exchange  had  much  the 
same  story  to  tell  as  those  released  at  Lorient.  Food  was  bad,  German 
morale  low,  and,  in  the  rear  areas,  the  enemy  troops  acted  as  if  they 
would  be  glad  to  have  the  war  end  immediately.  The  St.  Nazaire  men 
did  report  that  the  German  intelligence  personnel  they  encountered 
were  stricter  and  more  thorough  than  the  G-2  people  at  Lorient. 

Capture  of  the  Reconnaissance  Troop  outpost  on  the  He  de  Houat 

JCaptain  Michael  Foot  is  the  son  of  British  Brigadier  R.  O.  Foot,  who  directed  the 
antiaircraft  defenses  of  London  which  were  so  successful  in  knocking  down  German 
V-ls  over  the  British  capital.  The  captain  was  seriously  wounded,  while  attempting  his 
last  escape,  when  a  French  farmer  discovered  him  hiding  in  a  cellar  and,  mistaking  him 
for  a  chicken-stealing  German,  stabbed  him  in  the  face  with  a  pitchfork.  On  exchange, 
Captain  Foot  was  immediately  evacuated  through  medical  channels  and  sent  to  the 
general  hospital  at  Rennes.  Brigadier  Foot  later  visited  Mr.  Hodges,  General  Malony 
and  the  other  officers  who  participated  in  the  exchange  to  thank  them  personally  for 
the  return  of  his  son. 

2Final  agreement  was  for  one  major  or  captain  who  had  been  decorated  with  the 
Iron  Cross. 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


wMM 


IWf  ft.  ■     •  Gh  comioe        *'  Mr*  Sr  wto**. 

on  the  1  5th  of December  ■necessitated  a.  third  exdiani-e,  Ii  has  .already 
been  mentioned  that  Sergeant  Love,  .who  Has  Houndvd,  was  taken 
to  the  German  hospital  at  Loriem .-.  while  the  other  lout  Keco.n  men 
Hent  to  the  PW  cage  on  Belle  ixle.  Here  they  pined  tv.o  men  from 
the  3d  Battalion,  joist  Infantry. .  h ho  had  been  -  i apt u red  while  .on 
patrol  missions.  On  the  13th  of  the  montlv  these  men  were  joined 
by  ten'  American  airmen,  the  crew  or  a  BIT  jjhoJ  down  on  then  return 
from  a  mission  to  Regensburg /.■The  bombe-  crew  r.^ptaf ted  they  had 
lost  direction  when  enemv  ilak  knocked  otit  all  radio  .tomimmicattoit 


_-.  ... 


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64 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


to  lighten  the  plane.  When  the  tanks  were  almost  dry  the  ship  broke 
through  the  overcast;  below  was  what  looked  like  the  coast  of  England. 
Flak  being  tossed  up  at  the  bomber  did  not  detract  from  this  im- 
pression since,  at  that  time  and  until  the  end  of  the  war,  all  aircraft, 
unless  properly  reported,  were  subject  to  antiaircraft  fire.  In  addition 
the  crew  knew  they  were  long  overdue.  The  pilot  made  a  good  land- 
ing on  the  bomb-pocked  field  at  Lorient.  It  was  not  until  Germans 
with  drawn  weapons  surrounded  the  plane  that  the  crew  realized  their 
mistake.  Division  artillery  observers  who  had  watched  the  whole  affair 
through  their  glasses  from  forward  OPs,  destroyed  the  plane  with 
several  rounds  of  105mm  after  the  crew  had  been  removed. 

Time  was  now  running  short;  the  94th's  stay  in  Brittany  was  almost 
over.  Hasty  messages  between  12th  Army  Group  and  Division  re- 
sulted in  permission  for  one  more  swap.  To  this  third  exchange  the 
Germans  agreed,  but  tacked  on  a  qualifying  clause.  Assurance  had 
to  be  given  that  the  air  personnel  would  not  fly  again  in  the  ETO. 
This  condition  was  met  and  on  the  28th  of  December  the  last  of  the 
94th's  bargains  were  concluded.  An  extra  man  was  given  the  Germans 
at  this  time,  in  payment  for  Sergeant  Love,  who  had  been  returned 
on  credit,  on  Christmas  Day  because  German  hospital  facilities  at 
Lorient  were  unable  to  provide  the  treatment  his  wound  required. 
As  a  result  of  these  three  exchanges  140  Allied  soldiers  were  liberated. 
Included  in  this  number  were  105  Americans,  thirty-two  French  (FFI) 
and  three  British.  With  one  exception,  the  Division  recovered  every 
man  unfortunate  enough  to  fall  prisoner  to  the  enemy  in  Brittany. 


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Chapter  10:  THE  BRETONS 


MEAL  INTRODUCTION  of  the  94th  Division  to  the  French 
people  and  their  customs  came  neither  at  St.  Marie-du-Mont 
-  nor  on  the  long  motor  journey  through  Normandy  and  Brittany. 
The  days  spent  in  the  vicinity  of  the  beach  were  too  few  and  too  filled 
with  activity  for  any  real  contact  to  be  made  with  the  local  people. 
As  fast  as  possible,  troops  were  assembled  and  dispatched  to  Brittany. 
The  motor  columns  whipped  through  Carentan,  Coutances,  Granville 
and  Avranches;  without  stopping,  they  headed  for  the  assembly  area 
outside  Rennes  where  they  spent  a  night  in  bivouac,  before  moving 
to  either  the  Lorient  or  St.  Nazaire  sector.  En  route,  the  troops  of  the 
94th  had  quick  glimpses  of  the  French  population  and  little  besides. 
The  trip  to  the  front  was  more  a  study  of  the  terrain  of  northwestern 
France  and  an  object  lesson  in  the  destructive  powers  of  modern  war 
than  anything  else.  Those  men  of  the  Division  who  made  this  journey 
will  remember  it  always,  but  when  they  detrucked  in  Brittany  they 
still  knew  very  little  about  their  new  allies. 

As  the  various  units  moved  into  the  line  their  contact  with  the 
French  really  began,  for  in  both  sectors  there  were  bands  of  Maquis 
already  on  the  line  and  at  one  time  or  another,  all  of  the  infantry 
battalions  worked  directly  with  various  FFI  groups  in  the  Division 
zone.  In  the  early  days,  some  units  integrated  members  of  the  Maquis 
into  their  ranks,  where  they  served  as  riflemen  and  scouts,  side  by 
side  with  the  Americans  as  brothers-in-arms  even  wearing  the  94th 
shoulder  patch.  A  few  of  these  volunteers  were  still  with  the  Division 
when  the  move  to  the  Western  Front  was  made. 

As  the  rear  elements  of  the  Division  closed  in  the  new  area,  supply 
and  service  installations  set  up  in  the  numerous  French  towns  and 
villages  behind  the  lines  while  higher  command  posts  were  placed 
within  or  near  populated  spots.  Thus,  with  the  military  forces  of  the 
two  nations  cooperating  on  a  common  front  and  the  majority  of  the 
American  installations  located  among  the  civilian  population,  contacts 
were  close  and  constant.  In  and  out  of  the  lines  the  men  of  the 
neuf-quatre  (94th)  were  welcomed  by  the  people  of  Brittany. 

To  most  of  the  94th  the  first  point  of  interest  was  the  costumes 
of  the  people  among  whom  they  found  themselves.  For  the  most 
part  the  dress  of  the  civil  population  was  poor.  Wooden  shoes  were 
common,  as  they  were  the  only  sensible  and  available  footwear  for  the 
gooey  fields,  dirty  stables  and  muddy  roads.  On  Sundays  and  religious 
holidays  activity  in  the  villages  increased  greatly  and  the  people  ap- 
peared in  their  best  clothing.  The  women  wore  high,  starched  lace 
bonnets  and  picturesque  provincial  costumes;  the  men  generally  wore 

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black  suits  and  a  round,  black  felt  hat  complete  with  Little  Lord 
Fauntleroy  ribbons  which  trailed  behind.  But,  even  this  Sunday  finery 
showed  signs  of  age  and  hard  wear. 

It  was  soon  discovered  that  in  Brittany  apples  were  seldom  eaten — 
and  for  good  reason.  On  the  subject  of  pommes  there  were  two 
schools  of  French  thought.  The  younger  generation  was  of  the  opinion 
that  apples  were  to  be  used  exclusively  as  missiles  and  with  this  in 
mind  they  employed  them  effectively  on  every  passing  vehicle.  At  first 
they  were  tossed  gently,  but  later  they  were  heaved  with  the  speed  of 
baseballs,  much  to  the  sorrow  of  many  members  of  the  Division. 
Adults  of  the  region  believed  that  apples  were  intended  only  for 
cider.  Toward  this  end,  they  were  gathered  and  pressed  into  a  crude 
cidre  that  grew  in  strength  as  it  aged.  Regrettably,  most  of  the  cider 
within  the  Division  area  had  no  chance  to  grow  old. 

In  regard  to  liquor,  no  mention  of  France  is  complete  without  refer- 
ence to  Calvados,  This  colorless  liquid  can  be  used  to  start  fires,  refill 
lighters  or  induce  internal  warmth  with  considerable  danger  of  an 
attendant  loss  of  equilibrium.  For  all  three  purposes  it  was  used 
frequently. 

As  contact  with  the  local  people  increased,  language  difficulties 
came  to  the  fore.  Copies  of  the  little  blue  French  Phrase  Book  pro- 
vided by  I&E  Sections  were  faithfully  studied  and  the  discovery  soon 
was  made  that  the  French  language  is  not  composed  entirely  of  the 
phrases:  tf  Cigarette  pour  Papa/'  "Avez-vous  de  bon-bon?"  "Goom" 
and  redes  oeufs."  After  a  few  sessions  with  the  language  guides,  the 
braver  souls  were  ready  to  make  small  talk.  It  was  far  from  unusual 
to  see  an  American  soldier  and  a  French  civilian  with  their  heads  bent 
over  a  Phrase  Book  while  an  interested  crowd  of  spectators  gave  en- 
couragement and  advice.  As  time  passed,  the  Americans  learned  a 
little  French  and,  in  the  process,  the  people  of  Brittany  learned  a  little 
"American. "  From  this  point  on,  things  proceeded  much  more 
smoothly. 

Among  the  more  startling  aspects  of  French  life  were  the  frontdoor 
compost  (manure)  piles  in  the  farming  regions  and  the  pissoires  ever 
present  in  city,  town  or  village.  To  neither  of  these  did  the  American 
soldier  take  kindly,  considering  them  unsanitary  and  indecent.  But 
they  had  been  a  part  of  French  life  for  hundreds  of  years  and  change 
among  the  peasants  of  Brittany  is  slow. 

Farm  implements  of  the  Brittany  peasants  were  a  definite  shock 
to  some  of  the  rural  members  of  the  Division.  Tractors  were  almost 
unknown;  the  few  that  did  exist  were  propelled  by  charcoal  burners 


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THE  BRETONS 


67 


similar  to  those  providing  locomotion  for  the  few  trucks  and  omni- 
buses that  were  still  running.  For  the  most  part  plowing  was  done 
by  means  of  horses  or  oxen,  though  at  times  even  cows  were  harnessed 
for  this  purpose.  The  custom  of  harnessing  beasts  of  burden  in  tandem 
also  came  in  for  considerable  comment  and  there  were  those  who  set 
about  computing  the  loss  in  horsepower  per  beast  employed. 

The  warm,  crusty  French  bread  which  it  was  possible  to  buy  without 
coupons,  proved  a  welcome  change  from  GI  issue  bread  and  C  ration 
biscuits.  It  was  frequently  purchased;  sometimes  obtained  by  trading. 
In  regard  to  trade,  despite  language  difficulties,  the  troops  of  the  Divi- 
sion did  well.  Best  barter  item  was  always  cigarettes,  with  candy,  sugar 
and  canned  rations  following  in  close  order.  Originally  eggs  could 
be  obtained  on  the  basis  of  a  cigarette  for  an  oeuf.  As  time  went  on, 
though,  the  hens  became  more  exclusive  and  inflation  set  in  all  along 
the  front.  One  platoon  of  Company  L,  302d,  under  Lieutenant  Walter 
F.  Pier,  holding  the  outskirts  of  St.  Omer,  solved  the  egg  problem  by 
rounding  up  all  the  chickens  in  the  deserted  village  and  setting  up  a 
"Platoon  Poultry  Farm"  in  a  sheltered  spot. 

Late  in  September  of  1944,  the  annual  pilgrimage  of  the  Catholic 
faithful  to  the  famed  Shrine  of  Lourdes  passed  through  the  Division 
area.  Participation  in  the  procession  was  a  must  for  the  devout.  On 
the  day  the  entourage  was  scheduled  to  pass  through  a  given  village, 
the  townspeople  would  walk  several  miles  into  the  country  to  meet 
the  approaching  procession.  The  flotilla,  portraying  Christ  carrying 
the  Cross  to  Calvary,  was  welcomed  by  every  priest  and  brother  in 
the  area.  As  the  procession  passed  along,  the  clergy  would  sprinkle 
the  faithful  with  holy  water  and  groups  of  children,  under  the  direc- 
tion of  nuns,  chanted  hymns.  From  time  to  time,  both  the  laity  and 
clergy  joined  in  this  singing.  Most  of  the  marchers  trudged  along 
the  rough  roads  barefooted,  their  shoes  slung  over  their  shoulders. 
This,  a  chaplain  explained,  was  done  as  a  form  of  penance,  but  he 
made  the  observation  that  it  also  saved  shoe  leather  which  was  ex- 
tremely scarce. 

If  the  drams  and  ounces  of  perfume  purchased  by  the  men  of  the 
Division  during  the  stay  in  Brittany  were  to  be  totaled,  it  would  be 
discovered,  in  all  probability,  that  hundreds  of  gallons  of  parfum  had 
been  sent  State-side.  Lace  work  from  Rennes  and  Nantes  also  made 
large  dents  in  unalloted  pay.  Exquisite  Brittany  dolls  could  be  pur- 
chased for  sums  ranging  from  twelve  to  twenty  dollars,  but  these  were 
definitely  collectors*  items. 

In  the  city  of  Nantes,  which  was  used  by  the  St.  Nazaire  sector  as 


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68 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


a  rest  area  and  to  which  a  man  might  earn  a  24-hour  pass,  there  was 
some  hostile  feeling  toward  the  Americans,  caused  by  an  unfortunate 
incident  in  1943  which  led  American  planes,  using  the  lead-bomber 
method  of  releasing  bombs,  to  strike  Nantes  on  a  marketing  day. 
Target  for  the  raid  was  the  docks  and  shipping  along  the  river  but 
the  bombs  missed  their  mark,  causing  hundreds  of  casualties  among 
the  civilians.  After  the  attack,  demolished  buildings  were  plastered 
with  signs  reading  "Detruit  par  les  liberateures"  ("Destroyed  by  the 
liberators").  These  were  still  visible  when  the  Division  moved  into 
ine  area.  Rennes  also  felt  some  animosity  because  of  misguided  bombs, 
and  artillery  fire  used  against  the  city  prior  to  the  German  evacuation, 
but  American  aid  in  the  work  of  reconstruction,  particularly  in  regard 
to  the  repair  of  water  facilities  and  the  sewerage  system,  alleviated 
this  bitter  feeling  to  some  extent. 


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Chapter  11:  ADIEU 


ALMOST  A  MONTH  had  passed  after  the  Division  entered  the 
P\  lines  in  September  before  the  first  rumor  of  a  relief  began  to 
l  \  circulate  through  the  command.  In  October  the  hot  poop  was 
that  the  94th  would  join  the  VIII  Corps,  which  had  finished  refitting 
after  the  reduction  of  Brest  and  was  preparing  to  move  to  the  Western 
Front  as  part  of  the  Ninth  Army.  However,  both  corps  and  army 
moved  east  and  the  94th  continued  its  containing  mission  in  front 
of  the  pockets. 

During  October  Colonel  Bergquist  undertook  a  trip  to  12th  Army 
Group  Headquarters.  While  there,  he  was  informed  that  two  plans 
for  the  future  employment  of  the  Division  were  under  consideration. 
The  first  featured  the  relief  of  the  94th  by  the  102d  Infantry  Division, 
to  take  place  almost  immediately,  if  approved;  the  second  proposed 
a  relief  by  the  84th  Division  upon  its  arrival  on  the  Continent.  This 
latter  division  was  due  to  become  operational  on  November  20,  1944. 
If  either  of  these  plans  were  approved,  the  "Chief"  was  told,  the 
Division  would  join  General  Simpson's  Ninth  Army.  Back  at  Division 
this  information  caused  considerable  excitement;  tentative  plans  were 
laid  for  the  anticipated  movement.  But,  on  October  25,  1944,  Captain 
Eugene  B.  Walsh,  Division  Liaison  Officer,  called  from  Luxembourg 
with  word  that  neither  plan  had  been  approved.  The  94th  would 
not  move. 

Soon  after  this,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Phillips,  the  Division  G-4,  re- 
turning from  a  visit  to  General  Bradley's  headquarters,  brought  in- 
formation to  the  effect  that  the  army  group  commander  had  spoken 
to  General  Eisenhower  about  the  possibility  of  replacing  the  94th 
with  a  French  division.  No  plans  had  been  made  to  implement  such 
a  relief,  however.  It  was  just  something  that  was  being  considered 
upstairs. 

General  Malony  himself  next  made  the  trip  to  Luxembourg  to 
plead  the  cause  of  the  Division.  General  Bradley  told  the  CG  he  had 
never  intended  to  keep  the  Division  on  its  containing  mission  for  so 
protracted  a  period  of  time,  but  military  necessity  had  demanded  such 
action.  The  army  group  commander  also  added  that  at  that  time  he 
could  see  no  prospect  of  an  immediate  change  of  mission.  Things  re- 
mained at  this  pass  until  early  in  December.  On  the  5th  of  the  month, 
Brigadier  General  Grower,  Chief  of  Brittany  Base  Section,  arrived  at 
Division  Headquarters  with  information  that  another  division  was  to 
take  over  the  assignment  in  Brittany  and  entered  into  consultation  with 
G-4  in  regard  to  movement  plans. 

Confirmation  of  General  Grower's  information  was  received  from 

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winter 

•On  the  i  8th4  while  th^  l  ^  on 
the  beaches  of  No/ntiMufy.  higher- hs^Jquaci-ers  ntnoeJied  rhe  propped 
relief.  Reserves         A+*™***#te-:*&*i&&m  HH 
the  Uth  was  tea, 
reconnai^3iKe  party 
^4fh  continued  "its  assigned  mission 


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;  w    v     ^  »W*^JC  '  i- 

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ADIEU 


71 


264th  Infantry  Regiments,  was  torpedoed  by  a  German  submarine 
about  six  miles  off  Cherbourg,  on  the  evening  of  the  24th  at  1750 
hours.  This  disaster,  in  which  784  enlisted  men  and  14  officers  were 
lost,  vitally  sapped  the  66th's  fighting  strength.  Whether  or  not  the 
division  would  have  relieved  the  94th  if  it  had  not  been  for  this 
unfortunate  accident,  will  never  be  known.  But,  it  is  known  that 
General  Bradley  had  long  been  anxious  to  get  the  94th  into  the  big 
picture.  Official  word  of  the  impending  relief  was  received  on  the 
21st  of  December.  Three  days  later  Major  General  Herman  F.  Kramer, 
Commanding  General  of  the  66th,  arrived  at  Chateaubriant  with  his 
advance  party  to  plan  the  relief  and  to  be  oriented  on  the  situation. 

On  the  26th  the  shaken-up  66th  began  occupying  positions  in  the 
line,  but  all  troops  did  not  arrive  in  the  area  until  after  the  departure 
of  the  94th.  The  relief  started  in  the  Lorient  sector,  as  plans  originally 
called  for  movement  in  the  following  order:  CT  301,  CT  302  and 
CT  376.  For  the  most  part  reliefs  were  effected  during  the  hours  of 
darkness. 

An  interesting  incident  occurred  in  the  relief  of  Company  D  of  the 
301st  Infantry.  The  night  the  Panthers  took  over  the  company's  mortar 
positions,  personnel  of  Company  D  assisted  in  setting  up  the  weapons 
of  the  incoming  company,  zeroed  them  in  and  listed  the  azimuths  to 
likely  targets.  About  this  time,  the  captain  of  the  relieving  force 
appeared  and  ordered  the  weapons  moved  to  the  rear.  A  94th  sergeant 
who  had  painstakingly  supervised  most  of  the  work  inquired  the 
reason  for  the  move  and  was  informed:  "The  first  thing  in  the  morn- 
ing these  men  will  get  gun  drill.  Most  of  them  have  never  seen  a 
mortar  before." 

The  enemy  welcomed  the  newcomers  to  the  line  with  his  versatile 
88s  and  in  some  instances  casualties  were  caused  by  carelessness  on 
the  forward  positions.  To  the  tune  of  these  same  88s,  troops  of  the 
94th  turned  their  backs  on  Lorient  and  St.  Nazaire.  At  2107  hours, 
New  Year's  Day  1945,  control  of  the  pockets  passed  to  the  66th 
Infantry  Division.  For  the  94th  the  last  battle  indoctrination  course 
was  finished;  the  Division  was  headed  for  the  big  time. 

During  the  period  of  the  Division's  stay  in  Brittany,  the  men  of  the 
94th  successfully  and  completely  contained  a  force  of  some  60,000 
enemy  troops.  In  addition,  an  estimated  2,700  casualties  were  inflicted 
upon  the  Germans  and  566  POWs  were  taken.  To  accomplish  this 
100  men  of  the  Division  gave  their  lives,  618  more  were  wounded 
and  one  man  was  listed  as  missing  in  action  as  of  December  31,  1944. 
Material  assistance  was  given  the  French  forces  in  training,  supply 


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-  "  - 
■  -      .    •  . 


1    .1        .—..111-.  I.  ..    -   i        .   ....     I       -    I       I  -.1  5.     ,L.  .ilu. 


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■ 


™  iiiibiiiik^^d^ii  linn 


The  «rth.dro/  Chfrtf** 

lt-.,u.c,c  both  groups  made  the  u  tp  in  about  the  same  time  and  .both;..' 

-  the  numbing  January  cold,       wawfe,  rain  and 
LE  bivouiJts  were  made  by  the  motor  o.4ur  - 


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76 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


the  center  of  the  metropolis.  Time  spent  within  Paris  city  limits  was 
no  more  than  ten  or  fifteen  minutes  and  some  of  the  convoys  passed 
through  in  the  rain  which  all  but  obscured  the  few  landmarks  which 
might  have  been  seen. 

On  the  far  side  of  Paris,  the  highways  became  a  repetition  of  the 
march  from  the  Normandy  beaches.  The  ditches  along  the  roads  were 
littered  with  knocked-out  guns,  tanks  and  military  vehicles,  both  Ger- 
man and  American,  though  by  far  the  greater  number  belonged  to 
the  enemy.  Famous  rivers  were  crossed  on  temporary  bridges  which 
had  replaced  the  historic  stone  structures  knocked  out  by  Allied  air  or 
enemy  demolitions. 

As  the  94th  moved  east,  the  Oise  peasants  were  busy  gathering  the 
last  of  their  beet  crop.  Market  places  were  bustling  scenes  of  activity 
where,  for  the  first  time,  the  troops  of  the  Division  saw  the  U-shaped 
loaves  of  bread  peculiar  to  this  part  of  France.  (The  shape  was  de- 
signed to  facilitate  carrying.) 

Then  on  the  signposts  began  to  appear  famous  names  from  World 
War  I:  The  Marne,  Chateau-Thierry,  Meaux,  Dormans,  Epernay  and 
Soissons.  Farther  beyond  was  Reims,  famous  for  its  cathedral  and 
vintage  champagnes.  Most  of  the  men  of  the  Division  caught  a 
glimpse  of  the  church  but  only  a  few  were  fortunate  enough  to  sample 
the  wine.  Beyond  Reims  the  journey  ended — at  least  for  the  time 
being.  (Before  the  Division  left  Brittany  it  had  been  designated 
SHAEF  Reserve.  This  was  changed  to  assignment  to  Third  Army  while 
the  unit  was  in  transit.) 


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PART  FOUR 
GERMANY:  THE  SAAR-MOSELLE  TRIANGLE 


A  TRIBUTE:  The  highest  honor  that  could 
possibly  be  paid  the  artilleryman  is  respect  and 
gratitude  from  his  infantry  buddies,  with 
whom  he  works. 

In  February  1945,  when  troops  of  the  376th 
Infantry  were  coming  out  of  the  line,  they 
marched  in  single  file  past  the  battery  position 
of  Battery  A,  356th  Field  Artillery  Battalion. 
They  glanced  over  and  saw  the  artillery  guns 
in  position  and  the  cannoneers  standing  by. 

One  by  one,  each  Doughboy  in  the  column 
took  off  his  helmet  and  brought  it  to  his  chest. 

One  Infantryman  broke  a  smile  across  a  mud 
and  ice-caked,  bearded  face  and  said  simply: 
"Thank  your 


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MAASTRICHT 


•BRUSSELS 


SAMBUE 


)#CELLES  y  «S 


BASTOGNE. 


AACHEN 


U.S.  FIRST  ARMY 


BRITISH  3X3CC0RPS  a.' 


#HOUFFALIZE  f 


U.S.  THIRD  ARMY 


\9  VERDUN 


W  BITCHE% 


EXTENT  OF  VON  RUNDSTEDTS 
WINTER  OFFENSIVE 

m  m  mm  GERMAN  LINE  BEFORE  ARDENNES  OFFENSIVE 
-X— X-X-    DEPTH  OF  GERMAN  PENETRATION 


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Chapter  12:  THE  WESTERN  FRONT 


IN  EARLY  JANUARY  1945,  when  the  combat  teams  of  the  94th 
Division  began  arriving  at  the  assembly  area  in  the  vicinity  of 
Reims,  the  fury  of  Von  Rundstedt's  Ardennes  offensive  had  spent 
itself  and  the  Battle  of  the  Bulge  had  begun.  Though  the  German 
winter  offensive  had  torn  a  45-mile  gap  in  the  American  lines  from 
Monschau  on  the  north  to  Echternach  on  the  south,  and  had  pene- 
trated to  within  four  miles  of  the  Meuse  River  in  the  vicinity  of  Celles, 
Rundstedt  had  been  unable  either  to  cross  the  Meuse  or  to  expand 
the  flanks  of  his  penetration.  On  the  3d  of  January,  the  American 
First  Army  attacked  from  the  northwest  with  Houffalize,  in  the  center 
of  the  enemy's  penetration,  as  its  objective.  To  the  south  General 
Patton's  U.  S.  Third  Army  continued  to  exert  strong  pressure  on  the 
Bastogne  area  until  the  9th  of  the  month,  when  it  too  launched  a  drive 
toward  the  important  road  net  at  Houffalize.  These  operations  were 
designed  to  act  as  the  claws  of  a  huge  pincer,  thrusting  into  the  flanks 
of  the  Bulge  to  cut  off  as  many  of  Rundstedt's  troops  as  possible, 
isolate  them  from  the  main  German  forces  and  secure  their  annihila- 
tion or  surrender. 

The  original  plan  for  deployment  of  the  Division  called  for  move- 
ment to  the  Meuse  River  where  a  secondary  defensive  position  was  to 
be  taken  up  along  the  west  bank.  In  this  operation,  the  94th  was  to 
join  forces  with  the  28th  Division,  which  had  been  badly  mauled  in 
the  opening  days  of  the  Ardennes  offensive.  Combat  Team  302  was 
en  route  to  the  Meuse,  between  Sedan  and  Verdun,  when  the  plan  was 
changed.  General  Patton  had  decided  to  employ  the  90th  Infantry 
Division,  then  in  position  in  front  of  the  Siegfried  Switch  Line,  in 
part  of  his  attack  against  the  southern  flank  of  the  Bulge.  The  3d 
Cavalry  Reconnaissance  Squadron  immediately  began  the  relief  of 
elements  of  the  90th  Division,  which  then  moved  northward  to  the 
area  of  III  Corps,  less  one  regiment  which  remained  on  line  awaiting 
the  arrival  of  the  leading  elements  of  the  94th.  Since  the  28th  Divi- 
sion was  too  far  under  strength  to  fulfill  its  defensive  mission  along 
the  Meuse  unaided,  Combat  Team  302  was  temporarily  attached  to 
this  unit  and  continued  en  route. 

The  motor  columns  of  Combat  Team  301  closed  at  Reims  late  the 
evening  of  January  5,  and  plans  were  immediately  made  to  continue 
movement  the  following  morning.  Third  Army  dispatched  two  truck 
companies  to  the  Division  and  on  these  the  foot  elements  of  CT  301 
were  loaded  on  the  morning  of  the  6th.  Before  noon,  the  entire  com- 
bat team  was  heading  east  to  join  XX  Corps. 

Darkness  fell  as  the  motor  columns  approached  Verdun,  but  there 

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was  no  halt.  Hours  passed  and  the  troop-carriers  rolled  into  Metz — 
still  there  was  no  halt.  The  columns  turned  north,  paralleling  the 
Moselle  River.  About  midnight,  they  reached  Thionville;  here  the 
vehicles  crossed  the  river  on  a  ponton  bridge  and  the  journey  con- 
tinued. There  were  temporary  delays  as  trucks  skidded  and  ditched 
on  the  icy  roads,  and  when  exhausted  drivers  fell  asleep  at  the  wheel 
and  lost  control.  In  the  unheated  organics  and  troop-carriers,  the  men 
suffered  horribly  from  the  cold.  The  steel  truck  floors  literally  sucked 
the  warmth  out  of  a  man's  feet  and  woolen  gloves  proved  inadequate 
in  temperatures  only  a  few  degrees  above  zero.  Cases  of  frostbite  were 
numerous,  but  unavoidable. 

Unknown  to  the  men  and  to  most  of  the  officers,  the  combat  team 
was  under  orders  to  effect  the  relief  of  the  358th  Infantry,  left  behind 
by  the  90th  Division,  prior  to  0800  hours  on  the  morning  of  the  7th. 
As  the  motor  columns  pulled  up  in  rear  of  the  358th  positions,  the 
relief  began  without  delay.  Guides  were  waiting  and  the  half-frozen 
men  of  the  301st  were  led  forward  into  the  lines.  Although  the  relief 
was  not  entirely  accomplished  until  1030  hours,  most  of  the  301st 
troops  were  in  position  by  the  time  designated  for  the  completion  of 
the  relief. 

The  motor  columns  of  Combat  Team  376  arrived  at  Reims  on  the 
6th  and  left  the  following  morning  to  join  the  301st  Infantry.  Through 
the  efforts  of  G-4,  arrangements  were  made  for  the  foot  troops  of  this 
regiment  to  remain  on  their  40-and-8s  when  they  arrived  and  continue 

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,A(.v.,.  |"J;  I 


forward  by;  r 3 il  The  motor  elements  of  the  reetmem  ■  were  able  to 
ger  off  to  an  earU  shut  on  the  morning  of  the  7th\  and  by  2100  hours 
that  same  day  had  closed  in  their  assembly  are*  ne,r  Sierck,  At  2300 
boors  on  the  8th.,  the  toot  troops  arrived  -and  f he  3 76tb  completed 
its  relief  of  the  3d  Cavalry  RKanjiaissarice  Squadron  at  0710  hours 


-ad  ambofed  the  sooth  flank  of  bis 
Ardennes  Offensive  and  had  used  this  mer  to  protect  die  left  of  his 
initial  advaruf  in  rw-r-mhipr     Hhxi'ww   *Hvi*ii«  \vith  the-  nrfrfV  r&ix 


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'II,'    .  . 


I  J 

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These  two  strums  formed  the  nicies  of  a  huge  mangle  whose  apex 
was  thvk  junction  p&mi  in  thtykin&y  of  Tt&t.  Between  the  east  leg 


Late  in  November  of  1944;.  elements  of  the  1  Oth .Armored  Division 


man  veaction  for  this  was  a-  key  patron ■'■ii*  th*  ddVme  of  the  im 


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1 


■ 


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Chapter  13:  TETTINGEN-BUTZDORF 

ALTHOUGH  THE  DIVISION  was  limited  initially  to  a  purely 
/j\  defensive  role  in  front  of  the  Siegfried  Switch  Line,  it  was  well 
-ZTjjL  understood  that  this  restriction  would  not  long  continue.  Con- 
sequently, the  301st  and  376th  Infantry  immediately  began  to  probe 
the  enemy  defenses  with  numerous  reconnaissance  patrols.  When 
ODs  proved  too  conspicuous  for  the  snow-covered  landscape,  white 
patrol-suits  were  improvised  from  "liberated"  sheets  and  tablecloths. 

As  XX  Corps  reserve,  the  302d  Infantry,  on  its  return  from  attach- 
ment to  the  28th  Division,  reconnoitered  the  entire  corps  zone  against 
the  possibility  of  employment  as  a  counterattacking  force.  In  addi- 
tion, Colonel  Johnson's  command  reconnoitered  a  series  of  five  de- 
fensive lines  in  rear  of  the  94th's  battle  position.  As  time  permitted, 
these  lines  were  dug  into  the  deeply  frozen  ground  and  made  ready 
for  quick  occupancy,  should  the  enemy  break  through  anywhere  along 
General  Malony's  extended  front.  Heavy  minefields  were  laid  across 
likely  tank  approaches  and  all  bridges  in  close  proximity  to  the  front 
were  mined,  as  were  many  defiles.  Along  wooded  roads,  in  rear  of 
the  94th,  the  engineers  strung  necklaces  of  demolitions  around  the 
larger  trees,  so  that  these  roads  could  be  blocked  with  little  difficulty 
in  the  event  of  an  enemy  penetration. 

On  the  evening  of  January  12,  1945,  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  com- 
manded by  Lieutenant  Colonel  Russell  M.  Miner,  received  orders  to 
seize  and  hold  the  fortified  town  of  Tettingen  on  the  night  of  the 
13th-l4th,  and  to  be  prepared  to  repel  enemy  counterattacks  from  any 
direction.  This  was  the  first  of  a  series  of  limited-objective  attacks 
ordered  by  XX  Corps.  The  force  to  be  employed  in  this  and  subse- 
quent thrusts  was  not  to  exceed  one  reinforced  battalion.  On  this 
matter  corps  had  been  explicit.  The  object  of  these  attacks  was  two- 
fold: first,  by  continued  aggressive  action  to  draw  German  reserve 
units  from  the  hard  pressed  Bulge  area;  second,  by  the  execution  of  a 
carefully  planned  series  of  local  actions  to  inflict  heavy  casualties  on 
the  enemy  units  within  The  Triangle,  gradually  wearing  them  to 
exhaustion. 

Riding  back  to  his  command  post  in  Perl,  after  receiving  the  attack 
order,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  took  stock  of  the  situation.  The 
terrain  around  Tettingen  definitely  favored  the  defense.  Looking 
northeast  from  Wochern,  one  was  immediately  impressed  by  the  com- 
manding position  held  by  the  Germans  in  Campholz  Woods,  directly 
in  front  of  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  which  was  on  the  right  of  Lieu- 
tenant Colonel  Miner's  outfit.  This  wood  was  situated  on  the  upper 
slope  of  a  hill  some  four  hundred  feet  high  which  dominated  the  ter- 

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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


mental  outpost  line  from  Besch  to  Wochern  while  Companies  A  and 
C  were  organized  and  entrenched  on  the  main  line  of  resistance.  Dur- 
ing the  afternoon  and  evening  of  the  13th,  the  3d  Battalion,  376th, 
would  relieve  these  positions.  In  addition  to  the  support  that  could 
be  expected  from  the  regimental  combat  team,  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Miner  had  attached  to  his  battalion  for  the  attack,  a  platoon  of  Com- 
pany B  of  the  607th  Tank  Destroyer  Battalion  and  a  platoon  of  Com- 
pany C,  81st  Chemical  Mortar  Battalion.  Because  of  the  disposition 
of  the  battalion,  Companies  A  and  C  would  lead  the  attack.  The  bat- 
talion commander  knew  that  Company  A  had  sent  patrols  through  the 
woods  in  front  of  Wochern  as  far  as  the  dragon's  teeth  along  the 
southern  edge  of  Tettingen.  They  had  drawn  no  fire  and  had  en- 
countered no  Germans.  To  the  west  of  the  Wochern-Sinz  road  was 
a  wooded  area  that  extended  nearly  into  Tettingen.  This  would  pro- 
vide a  good  assembly  area  and  covered  routes  of  approach  for  the 
attack.  The  situation  looked  favorable  despite  the  fact  that  the  weather 
was  bitter  cold  and  there  was  a  twelve-inch  covering  of  snow  on  the 
ground. 

Some  two  months  earlier,  the  10th  Armored  Division  had  encoun- 
tered a  good  deal  of  trouble  when  it  had  taken  Tettingen.  After 
holding  the  town  for  two  days  and  capturing  the  pillboxes  within  it, 
the  tankers  withdrew  because  of  the  fury  of  the  enemy's  counter- 
attacks. Before  abandoning  Tettingen,  the  10th  had  reduced  the  cap- 
tured pillboxes  to  giant  blocks  of  overturned  concrete.  But,  the  pill- 
boxes on  the  hill  to  the  east  of  town  were  still  alive  and  intact.  These 
would  cause  trouble.  Then,  there  were  the  antipersonnel  mines  and 
booby  traps  the  armored  division  had  planted  before  it  pulled  back. 
These  would  have  to  be  located,  marked  and  in  many  cases  inactivated. 
In  all  likelihood,  taking  Tettingen  would  be  relatively  simple.  The 
real  task  would  be  to  hold  the  town  once  it  had  been  won.  Imme- 
diate and  violent  counterattack  was  anticipated  but  it  seemed  certain 
that  such  action  could  be  made  very  costly  for  the  Germans  in  fur- 
therance of  the  Division  Commander's  policy  of  maximum  attrition. 
Hence,  the  proposed  defense  of  Tettingen  was  worked  out  along  with 
the  attack  plan.  Company  C  was  to  seize  and  be  responsible  for  the 
west  side  of  Tettingen,  facing  the  orchard;  Company  A,  the  north  side 
looking  downhill  to  Butzdorf  and  the  east  side  facing  uphill  to 
Campholz  Woods.  Company  B  was  to  be  held  in  reserve,  ready  for 
deployment  in  any  part  of  the  town.  On  copies  of  a  town  plan  of 
Tettingen,  each  squad  and  platoon  leader  worked  out  exact  locations 
for  his  men  and  approximate  locations  for  the  automatic  weapons. 


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87 


Opposing  the  376th  Infantry  on  the  line  between  the  Borg-Munzin- 
gen  highway  and  the  Moselle  was  the  I  Battalion,  713th  Grenadier 
Regiment  of  the  4l6th  Infantry  Division,  commanded  by  a 
Major  Becker,  whose  CP  was  located  in  a  concrete  shelter  just  north 
of  Sinz.  Total  strength  of  this  unit,  plus  reinforcing  elements  from 
the  XLI  Fortress  Battalion,  came  to  approximately  five  hundred  men. 
Between  Nennig  and  Tettingen,  the  2d  Company  of  the  battalion 
manned  the  pillboxes  and  bunkers,  behind  the  antitank  barrier.  From 
Tettingen  to  the  east  boundary  of  the  German  battalion  was  the  1st 
Company  reinforced  by  the  4th  (Heavy  Weapons)  Company  and 
twenty  or  thirty  men  of  the  fortress  battalion.  One  platoon  from  the 
1st  Company  and  one  squad  of  the  antitank  platoon  were  held  in 
reserve  at  Sinz.  The  80mm  mortars  were  in  a  draw  just  east  of  Butz- 
dorf  and  additional  fire  support  was  available  from  the  13th  Company 
which  had  its  120mm  mortars  in  position  in  Untersie  Busch  Woods, 
west  of  Sinz.  Also,  there  was  a  battery  of  dual-purpose  88s,  which 
could  support  these  positions,  on  Munzingen  ridge,  east  of  Sinz.  The 
4l6th  Division  Artillery  (105mm  and  150mm  howitzers)  had  wire 
communication  with  observers  in  the  various  pillboxes  and  fire  was 
available  on  call.  In  regard  to  food,  the  situation  was  poor.  Ammuni- 
tion was  low  and  the  men  had  been  in  the  line  for  a  long  time.  Only 
the  thin  but  steady  trickle  of  replacements  and  the  warm  comfortable 
bunkers  kept  the  German  troops  in  prime  fighting  condition. 

At  0500  hours  on  the  morning  of  the  14th,  Companies  A,  C  and  D 
of  the  376th,  moved  up  to  Wochern  where  they  were  joined  by  Com- 
pany B  following  its  relief  by  the  3d  Battalion.  Arrangements  had 
been  made  the  previous  night  to  locate  the  battalion  command  post  in 
a  building  on  the  north  side  of  Wochern  and  wire  was  laid  to  the 
battalion  OP  in  Der  Heidlich.  At  0650  hours,  as  the  first  gray  streaks 
of  dawn  began  to  show  behind  Campholz  Woods,  the  mortar  and 
machine-gun  sections  of  the  battalion  assumed  positions  and  the  rifle 
companies  moved  into  their  forward  assembly  areas.  Despite  the  cold, 
the  troops  carried  only  light  packs;  speed  and  ammunition  were  of  far 
greater  importance  than  comfort. 

H-hour  was  announced  at  0710  hours  by  the  rolling  thunder  of  the 
105s  of  the  919th  Field  Artillery  Battalion  softening  up  Tettingen. 
After  a  twenty-minute  preparation  the  attack  jumped  off.  While  the 
4.2  chemical  mortars  raised  fountains  of  white  phosphorus  along  the 
ridge  east  of  Tettingen,  Lieutenant  Claude  W.  Baker's  heavy  ma- 
chine-gun platoon  chattered  from  the  forward  edge  of  Der  Heidlich, 


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89 


hand-grenaded,  then  stormed.  Some  twenty-three  Germans  routed 
out  of  the  cellars  were  quickly  disarmed,  searched  and  moved  back  to 
Wochern. 

By  0815  hours  the  town  was  completely  occupied;  organization  of 
the  defenses  began  according  to  plan.  Captain  Edwin  E.  Duckworth 
of  Company  C  moved  his  men  into  position  in  the  buildings  and 
trenches  on  the  west  of  town,  and  posted  six  men  in  the  houses  in  the 
orchard.  The  60mm  mortars  were  set  up  in  the  ruins  of  the  blown 
pillbox  on  the  southern  edge  of  town  where  they  were  given  rifle 
protection  by  some  men  of  the  1st  Platoon. 

At  the  same  time  Captain  Carl  J.  Shetler,  commanding  Company  A, 
organized  his  men  on  their  prearranged  positions.  The  1st  Platoon 
dug  in  on  the  north  while  the  2d  and  3d  prepared  to  defend  the  east 
side  of  Tettingen.  Concurrently,  a  patrol  of  one  squad  was  sent  to 
reconnoiter  the  pillboxes  three  hundred  yards  east  of  town.  This  party 
worked  its  way  to  the  edge  of  the  hill,  locating  four  or  five  boxes. 
These  were  so  skillfully  camouflaged  that  the  scouts  were  on  top 
of  one  of  the  pillboxes  before  voices  from  inside  gave  away  its  posi- 
tion. Since  the  patrol  had  no  means  of  breaking  into  the  fortifications, 
it  withdrew. 

Back  at  Der  Heidlich  the  progress  of  the  operation  was  followed 
by  anxious  eyes.  The  Assistant  Division  Commander,  General  Cheadle; 
the  Regimental  Commander,  Colonel  McClune;  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Robert  L.  Love,  G-2;  Lieutenant  Colonel  Rollin  B.  Durbin,  G-3  and 
the  Division  Engineer,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Noel  H.  Ellis,  were  at  the 
battalion  OP.  They  were  enthusiastic  about  the  success  of  the  attack 
and  saw  no  reason  why  it  could  not  be  exploited.  This  resulted  in  the 
decision  to  take  Butzdorf,  although  this  town  had  not  been  included 
in  the  original  attack  plan.  Orders  were  speedily  issued  that  the  bat- 
talion would  jump  off  again  at  1000  hours. 

When  informed  of  this  decision,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  looked 
at  his  watch.  It  was  then  0820  hours.  If  the  attack  was  to  continue 
as  scheduled,  he  would  have  to  move  quickly.  The  battalion  com- 
mander directed  Captain  Larry  A.  Blakely,  his  artillery  liaison  officer, 
to  arrange  for  a  ten-minute  preparation  on  the  new  objective  begin- 
ning at  0950  hours.  Then  he  and  his  command  group  headed  for 
Tettingen,  closely  followed  by  Lieutenant  Baker  and  his  machine-gun 
platoon. 

When  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  arrived  in  Tettingen  he  set  up  his 
command  post  in  the  basement  of  the  house  across  from  the  church, 
in  the  southern  part  of  town  and  sent  for  Captain  Shetler.  Very 


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91 


shortly  thereafter,  the  CO  of  Company  A  reported;  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Miner  ordered  him  to  attack  Butzdorf  at  1000  hours  and  to  prepare 
to  hold  the  town  against  counterattack. 

When  Captain  Shetler  received  this  order  his  company  and  its 
attachments  were  completely  deployed  on  the  north  and  east  of  Tet- 
tingen  preparing  to  defend  the  town.  Immediately  the  CO  sent  a 
runner  to  recall  the  reconnaissance  patrol  hunting  pillboxes  east  of 
town  and  moved  forward  to  contact  his  platoon  leaders.  He  informed 
Lieutenant  George  L.  Dumville  that  his  platoon  would  act  as  support 
during  the  new  attack  and  instructed  Lieutenant  Tom  Hodges  to  move 
forward  at  1000  hours  to  seize  everything  in  Butzdorf  on  the  east  of 
the  Wochern-Sinz  road.  Captain  Shetler  next  contacted  Lieutenant 
Claude  W.  Baker  of  Company  D,  and  ordered  him  to  reconnoiter  for 
positions  from  which  to  support  the  coming  attack. 

By  this  time  enemy  fire  on  Tettingen  had  increased  greatly  and  88s 
east  of  Sinz  were  sniping  at  individuals  as  they  moved  among  the 
buildings  in  the  northeastern  part  of  town.  So  closely  was  the  warning 
whistle  of  incoming  mail  followed  by  a  shell  burst  there  was  scarcely 
time  to  flatten  in  the  snow  before  screaming  steel  fragments  were 
ricocheting  off  the  stone  walls  of  the  buildings.  German  80mm  mor- 
tars, east  of  Butzdorf,  were  active  and  the  explosion  of  their  projectiles 
added  to  the  noise  and  confusion  in  town,  as  well  as  to  the  hazard  of 
moving  from  building  to  building. 

After  considering  the  report  of  the  patrol  recalled  from  the  pillbox 
area  east  of  Tettingen,  Captain  Shetler  returned  to  the  battalion  com- 
mand post  recommending  that  the  attack  on  Butzdorf  be  postponed 
until  these  pillboxes  were  reduced,  since  enfilading  machine-gun  fire 
from  these  strongpoints  could  be  brought  on  the  assault  platoons  as 
they  advanced.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  refused  to  delay  the  attack. 
Company  A  was  to  advance  at  1000  hours.  It  was  then  fifteen  minutes 
to  the  scheduled  time  of  attack;  Capain  Shetler  hurried  back  to  finish 
issuing  his  orders. 

As  the  men  of  Company  A  crawled  out  of  their  cellars  and  captured 
foxholes  and  down  from  their  attics,  the  support  platoon  of  Company 
C,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Ben  R.  Chalkley,  moved  from  the  south 
of  town  and  took  over  the  defenses  on  the  northeast.  Lieutenant 
Chalkley  established  the  platoon  command  post  almost  on  his  MLR 
and  prepared  an  all-round  defense.  Sergeant  Kornistan  and  Sergeant 
Douglas,  with  six  riflemen  and  four  engineers  carrying  explosives, 
moved  out  to  see  what  could  be  done  about  reducing  the  pillboxes 
nearest  the  position. 


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When  Captain  Shetler  reached  his  1st  Platoon  in  the  northern  part 
of  Tettingen,  they  were  busily  engaged  in  strengthening  their  newly 
won  positions.  The  captain  motioned  Lieutenant  Richard  L.  Creighton 
to  join  him.  It  was  then  0955  hours  and  the  artillery  preparation  of 
the  919th  Field  Artillery  had  been  falling  on  Butzdorf  for  almost  five 
minutes.  Captain  Shetler  spoke  first:  "Creighton,  I  want  you  to  attack 
Butzdorf  at  1000.  Take  everything  on  the  west  of  the  road." 

Lieutenant  Creighton  looked  at  his  company  commander  in  disbelief 
and  amazement.  "You  mean  now?" 

"Yes,  now."  Captain  Shetler  replied. 

Since  it  was  obvious  that  this  made  the  1st  Platoon  responsible  for 
most  of  Butzdorf,  the  CO  of  Company  A  ordered  Lieutenant  Hodges 
to  jump  off  first  and  seize  the  house  halfway  between  Tettingen  and 
Butzdorf.  Lieutenant  Creighton  would  then  follow  and  Lieutenant 
Dumville  would  remain  in  the  northern  edge  of  Tettingen  in  support. 
Lieutenant  Baker,  who  was  unable  to  find  suitable  positions  for  his 
machine  guns,  was  instructed  to  follow  the  support  platoon  when  it 
moved. 

It  was  1007  hours  before  Lieutenant  Hodges  was  able  to  start  his 
platoon  down  the  hill  toward  Butzdorf.  Enemy  artillery  continued  to 
pound  Tettingen,  but  the  small-arms  fire  which  had  been  coming  from 
Butzdorf  was  fairly  well  silenced  by  the  artillery  preparation  on  that 
town.  When  Lieutenant  Hodges  had  advanced  some  two  hundred 
yards,  Lieutenant  Creighton's  platoon  followed  after  experiencing 
some  difficulty  in  assembling.  Slowly  they  worked  their  way  down  the 
slope,  which  was  entirely  without  cover,  as  mortar  and  88  fire  burst 
among  the  trees  and  along  the  road.  Captain  Shetler  followed  Lieu- 
tenant Hodges'  support  squad,  accompanied  by  his  messengers  and 
radio  operator. 

To  the  east,  on  the  Borg-Munzingen  ridge,  enemy  observers  watched 
this  new  development.  Lieutenant  Hodges'  leading  squads  had  passed 
the  halfway  house,  and  the  support  squad  and  company  command 
group  were  just  in  front  of  it  when  a  series  of  heavy  explosions  burst 
among  them.  The  men  hit  the  dirt  and  the  explosions  continued. 
Lieutenant  Creighton's  platoon,  on  the  left,  broke  into  a  run  as  the 
enemy  concentration  began  and  stormed  into  Butzdorf.  Lieutenant 
Hodges'  support  squad  soon  followed  suit.  During  the  confusion  one 
of  the  BAR  men  located  a  German  mortar  on  the  right  flank  near  a 
pillbox,  and  effectively  silenced  it  with  a  few  well  placed  bursts. 
Some  of  the  fire  then  ceased  and  the  medics  moved  in  to  attend  the 
wounded.  Captain  Shetler  was  badly  hit,  his  radio  operator  was  killed 


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and  the  radio  destroyed.  In  all,  there  were  about  fifteen  wounded  who 
had  to  be  evacuated.  These  casualties  were  carried  into  the  halfway 
house.  From  there  they  were  later  evacuated  up  the  hill  to  Tettingen, 
on  litters  and  doors. 

Lieutenant  David  F.  Stafford,  the  company  executive  officer,  came 
forward  without  delay  to  assume  command.  He  had  with  him  the 
first  sergeant  and  had  picked  up  what  was  left  of  the  command  group, 
but  with  the  radio  gone  there  was  no  means  of  communication  with 
battalion  except  by  runner.  Moreover,  the  artillery  forward  observer, 
Lieutenant  William  C.  Woodward,  had  remained  in  a  house  on  the 
forward  edge  of  Tettingen,  from  which  there  was  fair  observation, 
and  Lieutenant  Stafford  had  no  means  of  direct  contact  with  him. 
However,  the  situation  was  not  too  bad  as  the  leading  platoons  were 
rapidly  clearing  Butzdorf. 

By  1113  hours,  the  1st  and  2d  Platoons  had  mopped  up  the  town 
taking  prisoner  a  few  bedraggled-looking  individuals  in  long,  floppy 
overcoats.  Preparations  for  a  thorough  defense  began  at  once.  As 
planned,  Lieutenant  Creighton's  men  took  over  the  west  of  Butzdorf 
while  Lieutenant  Hodges'  platoon  prepared  to  defend  the  east.  Lieu- 
tenant Dumville's  platoon  was  ordered  to  occupy  the  halfway  house 
and  the  row  of  buildings  on  the  south  of  town,  while  Lieutenant  Baker 
was  emplacing  his  machine  guns  to  cover  the  likely  avenues  of  ap- 
proach for  an  enemy  counterattack.  Then  everyone  settled  down  to 
await  developments.  Looking  up  at  the  ring  of  enemy-held  hills  sur- 
rounding Butzdorf,  the  troops  realized  that  the  worst  was  yet  to  come. 
A  salient  more  than  a  mile  deep  had  been  thrust  into  the  German 
defenses.  It  had  to  be  held,  no  matter  what  the  enemy  might  do  to 
recover  this  valuable  ground. 

About  1300  hours,  some  fifty  men  were  seen  debouching  from 
Campholz  Woods,  in  a  column  of  twos.  At  first  it  was  assumed  that 
they  were  prisoners  being  brought  back  by  a  patrol  from  Company  C. 
Presently  it  was  observed  that  they  were  armed;  closer  scrutiny  identi- 
fied them  definitely  as  Germans.  A  machine-gun  was  hurriedly  dis- 
placed to  cover  the  group  and  Captain  Larry  A.  Blakely,  the  artillery 
liaison  officer,  cranked  his  telephone  and  shouted  for  fire  direction 
to  prepare  for  a  shoot.  The  files  of  Germans  moved  slowly  forward 
and,  as  they  deployed,  firing  began.  Artillery  shells  rattled  overhead 
and  the  ground  at  the  feet  of  the  enemy  erupted.  Rifles  and  automatic 
weapons  poured  carefully  aimed  fire  into  the  group.  Among  the 
bursting  shells,  the  enemy  was  seen  to  scatter.  Some  few  raced  for 


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the  shelter  of  nearby  pillboxes  but  most  lay  where  they  had  fallen 
in  the  snow. 

A  short  time  later,  an  enemy  patrol  in  perfect  V  formation,  led 
by  an  officer  in  a  light  coat,  emerged  from  Campholz  Woods.  Watch- 
ful eyes  in  Tettingen  followed  the  Germans  as  they  moved  down  the 
hill.  A  machine  gun  went  into  action  and  the  mortar  platoon  back 
in  Wochern  dropped  an  effective  concentration.  This  ended  the  patrol. 
At  1335  hours,  the  battalion  commander  ordered  Company  B  forward 
from  its  reserve  position  in  Wochern.  En  route,  the  march  was 
periodically  interrupted  by  enemy  artillery  and  mortar  fire,  but  the 
1st  Platoon  moved  into  Butzdorf  without  incident  while  the  remainder 
of  the  company  took  positions  in  Tettingen  to  strengthen  that  gar- 
rison. After  this  move,  the  remainder  of  the  afternoon  passed  quietly 
while  the  entire  battalion  improved  the  positions  it  had  won.  De- 
fensive fires  of  the  artillery,  mortars  and  machine  guns  were  coordi- 
nated and  the  Antitank  Platoon  placed  its  guns  in  position  outside 
Wochern;  the  recommendation  of  the  platoon  leader  not  to  move  into 
Tettingen  had  been  accepted.  Wire  communications  were  laid  and 
relaid  as  fast  as  they  were  knocked  out.  Enemy  shelling  was  inter- 
mittent but  intense  throughout  the  afternoon  and  evening.  An  88 
ignited  a  building  on  the  square  in  Tettingen  and  the  fire,  which  no 
one  attempted  to  extinguish,  sent  a  tall  pillar  of  smoke  rising  into 
the  winter  sky. 

Unknown  to  the  troops  in  Tettingen  and  Butzdorf,  important  de- 
cisions were  being  made  behind  the  enemy  lines.  The  11th  Panzer 
Division,  nicknamed  the  Gespenster  (Ghost)  Division,  one  of  the 
finest  German  units  on  the  Western  Front,  had  been  moving  from 
Trier  to  the  Rhine  when  the  1st  Battalion  launched  its  attack.  Hastily, 
the  11th  was  rerouted.  It  headed  west  for  the  Saar-Moselle  Triangle, 
with  orders  to  restore  the  original  line  regardless  of  cost.  Also,  the 
714th  Grenadier  Regiment  of  the  4l6th  Infantry  Division  was 
ordered  to  leave  its  comfortable  bunkers  along  the  east  bank  of  the 
Saar  and  move  to  the  aid  of  its  brother  regiment,  the  712th.  The 
41 6th  Division  Replacement  Battalion,  complete  with  cadre  and  com- 
manded by  a  Major  Kraft,  was  hurried  toward  Tettingen  with  orders 
to  attack  immediately. 

As  the  night  wore  on,  Tettingen  seethed  with  activity.  Casualties 
were  evacuated  and  all  types  of  ammunition  and  ten-in-one  rations 
were  brought  from  Wochern  to  Tettingen  by  hand.  From  there  they 
were  hand-carried  into  Butzdorf.  Company  B  sent  a  three-man  con- 
tact patrol  along  the  road  to  Wochern  while  Company  A  sent  four 


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men.  up  the  draw  east  of  Butzdorf ,  to  locate  the  German  mortars  which 


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COUNTERATTACK  OF  THE  416th 

REPLACEMENT  BATTALION  f~ 
JAN  15, 1945        v  y^f 


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machine  guns  stabbed  the  darkness,  as  final  protective  lines  were  laid. 
Scores  of  the  attackers  fell,  but  the  rest  charged  on.  Through  the 
orchard  and  up  the  antitank  ditch  they  raced.  They  assaulted  the 
house  held  by  the  six  men  from  Company  C;  threw  hand  grenades 
from  room  to  room  and  into  the  cellar.  In  less  time  than  it  takes  to 
tell  the  place  was  filled  with  yelling  Supermen.  The  half-dozen  men 
holding  the  house  decided  it  was  time  to  leave  and,  leaping  from  one 
of  the  windows,  dashed  for  the  shelter  of  town.  In  Tettingen  they 
encountered  Sergeant  Templeton  and  requested  mortar  fire  on  the 
building.  Quickly  the  81s  were  adjusted  with  telling  effect.  Screams 
of  the  wounded  and  dying  mingled  with  the  crash  of  exploding  shells 
and  crumbling  walls.  A  tank  destroyer  edged  into  firing  position  and 
delivered  sufficient  rounds  to  eliminate  any  Germans  who  remained 
alive  in  the  house. 

But,  still  the  Germans  came.  They  surrounded  Butzdorf  and 
crawled  between  the  buildings  in  Tettingen.  They  encircled  individual 
houses  and  grenaded  the  rooms  systematically.  In  several  instances 
enemy  machine-gun  crews  set  up  their  weapons  within  ten  yards  of  a 
building  to  pour  streams  of  fire  through  the  windows  and  doors.  For 
three  hours  the  fighting  continued  as  small  groups  on  both  sides  fought 
savage  actions  without  knowledge  of  the  fate  of  their  comrades.  Only 
the  volume  of  fire,  in  which  friendly  and  enemy  weapons  were  identi- 
fied by  characteristic  sound,  gave  assurance  to  the  attackers  and  the 
attacked.  The  western  half  of  Tettingen  seemed  to  rock  under  the 
intense  mortar  and  artillery  concentrations  thrown  against  it.  American 
hand  grenades  and  German  potato  mashers  were  exchanged  freely 
and  the  Mis  did  extra  duty. 

Toward  the  end  of  the  second  hour  of  the  fighting,  a  hasty  check 
of  the  remaining  machine-gun  ammunition  revealed  that  only  about 
four  full  boxes  were  left.  More  than  32,000  rounds  had  been  ex- 
pended. Someone  would  have  to  make  the  trip  back  to  Wochern  for 
a  hasty  resupply  and  Corporal  Donald  W.  Kreger,  transportation 
corporal  of  Company  D,  volunteered  for  the  job.  He  worked  his  way 
back  to  Wochern  and  returned  with  64,000  rounds  loaded  on  his 
vehicle.  This  was  the  first  vehicle  to  make  the  run  into  Tettingen; 
presumably  the  road  was  free  of  mines. 

With  the  coming  of  dawn,  firing  slackened  and  the  mortars  in 
Wochern  coughed  up  the  final  rounds  of  the  4,000  they  fired  in  help- 
ing to  repel  this  attack.  Apparently,  the  main  effort  of  the  German 
thrust  had  been  directed  against  Tettingen,  but  Butzdorf  had  received 
a  goodly  share  of  attention.  Then  at  0755  hours  all  firing  ceased. 


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Northwest  of  Tettingen  there  were  scattered  bundles  of  human  litter 
dotting  the  snow,  among  the  stubs  of  what  had  once  been  trees.  The 
air  was  filled  with  the  odor  of  burnt  cordite  and  there  was  evidence 
of  destruction  everywhere. 

Private  Milton  A.  Welsch  of  the  battalion  medical  detachment, 
noticing  some  of  the  bodies  beyond  town  slowly  dragging  themselves 
through  the  snow,  went  forward  to  investigate.  He  found  between 
thirty  and  thirty-five  Germans  alive,  but  wounded  and  freezing  to 
death.  These  casualties  were  speedily  evacuated  and  treated.  Their 
socks  and  gloves  were  frozen  to  their  bodies  and  the  skin  peeled  away 
as  they  were  removed.  Later,  other  Germans  were  found  hiding  in 
the  surrounding  woods  and  trenches.  In  all,  some  sixty  prisoners  were 
rounded  up  and  sent  to  the  rear.  Of  the  whole  attacking  force  of 
some  four  hundred  men  only  about  one  hundred  returned  to  the  enemy 
lines. 

For  the  Americans  the  day  then  settled  down  to  one  of  watchful 
waiting.  Continuous  mortar  and  artillery  fire  discouraged  movement 
on  the  streets;  only  the  boldest  risked  the  trip  into  Butzdorf.  The 
troops  dined  on  their  first  ten-in-one  rations  since  crossing  the  Channel. 
Water  was  a  major  problem  and  after  the  first  man  to  visit  the  town 
pump  was  shot  by  a  sniper,  it  was  generally  decided  that  melted  snow 
would  make  an  acceptable  substitute.  In  Butzdorf,  charges  of  nitro- 
starch  were  used  to  breach  holes  in  the  walls  of  adjoining  buildings. 
These  mouseholes  eliminated  the  necessity  for  venturing  into  the  fire- 
swept  streets  and  provided  easy  passage  from  house  to  house. 


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Chapter  14:  NENNIG-BERG-WIES 


HILE  ITS  1st  Battalion  was  engaged  at  Tettingen  and  Butz- 


V  V  afternoon  of  the  14th,  the  day  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's 
men  took  their  objectives,  orders  were  given  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Benjamin  E.  Thurston,  commanding  the  3d  Battalion,  to  seize  and 
hold  the  towns  of  Nennig,  Berg  and  Wies  the  following  morning. 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  had  already  received  a  warning  order 
for  this  operation  and  had  formulated  his  attack  plans. 

Nennig  was  composed  of  about  fifty  stone  buildings  situated  on 
the  extensive  mudflats  bordering  the  Moselle  River  in  this  vicinity. 
West  of  the  town  two  small  streams  flowed  into  the  river.  Immediately 
east  of  Nennig  was  some  high  ground  which  overlooked  it.  To  the 
south  and  west  the  terrain  was  flat  and  level,  devoid  of  vegetation 
and  broken  only  by  a  few  small  gullies.  A  double  track,  north-south 
railroad  servicing  the  towns  in  the  Moselle  valley  passed  between 
Nennig  and  the  river,  some  six  hundred  yards  west  of  town.  Midway 
between  the  railroad  and  Nennig  was  a  road  leading  north  into  Wies, 
a  small  town  approximately  1,500  yards  to  the  northwest.  Berg,  the 
last  of  the  villages  included  in  the  battalion  mission,  was  located 
some  six  hundred  yards  north  of  Nennig.  It  was  composed  of  about 
twenty  houses  and  a  strongly  fortified  castle. 

Fear  of  alerting  the  enemy  to  this  new  attack  led  to  the  decision 
to  dispense  with  much  of  the  usual  patrol  reconnaissance.  Available 
maps  and  aerial  photographs  were  studied  exhaustively,  then  a  visual 
reconnaissance  was  conducted  by  the  battalion  commander  and  his 
staff  from  an  OP  in  Besch.  This  led  to  an  important  decision.  It  had 
been  suggested  that  the  attack  be  launched  from  the  east,  but  the 
terrain  and  enemy  defenses  to  be  encountered  in  this  approach  caused 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  to  question  such  action.  Seven  hundred 
yards  south  of  Nennig  on  the  east  of  the  Besch-Nennig  road  were 
five  manned  enemy  pillboxes  and  it  was  known  that  a  previous  Ameri- 
can attack  against  these  fortifications  had  been  stopped  in  its  tracks. 
Moreover,  the  area  around  these  boxes  was  reported  to  be  heavily 
mined.  Considerable  activity  had  been  observed  in  the  woods  extend- 
ing to  the  east  and  the  strength  of  the  enemy  in  these  woods  was  an 
unknown  factor.  Also,  an  attack  from  the  east  meant  either  a  rush 
down  a  steep  hill,  with  consequent  disorganization,  or  advancing  along 
a  narrow  gorge  that  could  be  held  easily  by  a  few  determined  riflemen 
reinforced  with  automatic  weapons.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston 
decided  to  attack  from  the  west. 

In  the  Nennig  area  the  terrain  was  such  that,  looking  south  from 


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the  fortified  line  in  front  of  the  town,  all  approaches  were  plainly 
visible  to  the  enemy.  Hence  it  was  evident  that  even  an  attack  from 
the  west  would  have  to  be  conducted  so  that  the  attacking  force  crossed 
the  open  ground  under  the  cover  of  darkness  or  smoke.  If  this  was 
not  done  the  attackers  would  be  picked  off  against  the  snow  like  so 
many  clay  pigeons. 

During  the  1st  Battalion's  attack  on  Tettingen,  Companies  I  and  L 
of  the  376th  had  been  held  in  reserve  in  the  woods  west  of  Wochern. 
On  the  night  of  the  l4th-15th,  the  entire  battalion,  plus  Company  A 
of  the  81st  Chemical  Mortar  Battalion  and  a  platoon  from  the  774th 
Tank  Destroyer  Battalion  which  had  been  attached,  assembled  in 
Besch.  A  section  of  mortars  under  Lieutenant  Raymond  J.  King, 
which  had  been  giving  direct  support  in  the  attack  on  Tettingen,  was 
withdrawn  to  aid  in  the  coming  push. 

At  0300  hours  the  morning  of  the  15th,  Lieutenant  Charles  R. 
Palmer  and  a  squad  from  the  319th  Engineers  swept  a  path  for  almost 
two  miles,  from  the  northern  edge  of  Besch  to  the  railroad  tracks  west 
of  Nennig  which  had  been  designated  as  the  line  of  departure.  The 
path  to  the  LD  was  a  torturous  one.  Initially  it  ran  northwest,  inter- 
secting the  Moselle  opposite  Nennig.  It  then  followed  the  river  north 
for  a  quarter  of  a  mile  before  it  doubled  back,  south  and  east,  to  the 
stretch  of  track  west  of  town.  This  twisting  lane  through  the  mine- 
fields was  marked  with  phosphorescent  tabs  strung  on  wires.  The 
engineers  also  provided  the  leading  companies  with  pole  charges  and 
made  available  four  flame  throwers.  To  forestall  any  motorized  coun- 
teroffensive  on  the  part  of  the  enemy,  a  belt  of  antitank  mines  was 
laid  across  the  road  leading  into  Besch. 

Despite  the  harshness  of  the  weather  and  the  imposing  German  de- 
fenses, the  men  of  the  3d  Battalion  were  very  confident.  Reports 
coming  out  of  Tettingen  had  been  favorable  and  the  troops  were  sure 
they  would  fare  as  well  as  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's  men. 

Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  decided  to  leave  Company  I  in  Besch  as 
his  reserve.  Formation  prescribed  for  the  remainder  of  the  battalion 
was  a  column  of  companies  with  men  in  single  file.  Captain  Julian  M. 
Way  of  Company  K  led  off  with  his  unit  stretched  out  behind  him. 
A  platoon  of  heavy  machine  guns  and  a  mortar  section  from  Company 
M  followed;  behind  this  group,  by  500  yards,  came  Company  L,  com- 
manded by  Captain  William  A.  Brightman.  The  remaining  heavy 
machine-gun  platoon  of  the  battalion  brought  up  the  rear  of  the 
column. 

The  night  was  bitter  cold  and  the  ground  covered  with  snow  or  ice. 


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102 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


continued  for  an  additional  thirty  minutes  and  this  request  was  granted. 
Concurrently,  smoke  was  laid  along  the  south  and  west  of  Nennig 
to  confuse  the  enemy  as  to  the  direction  of  the  impending  attack. 

At  0745  hours  Company  K  crossed  the  line  of  departure  with  the 
1st  Platoon  on  the  right,  the  2d  on  the  left,  and  the  3d  in  support. 
Smoke  laid  by  the  artillery  obscured  the  objectives  and  the  attack  did 
not  go  exactly  as  planned.  Company  K  was  to  have  taken  Nennig 
while  Company  L  bypassed  it  to  seize  Wies.  In  the  confusion,  the 
2d  Platoon  of  Company  K,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Dwight  M. 
Morse;  one  platoon  of  machine  guns  under  Technical  Sergeant  Leo  P. 
Philbin;  a  section  of  81mm  mortars  under  Lieutenant  King  and  a  light 
machine  gun  section  under  Technical  Sergeant  Emmett  R.  Brown  mis- 
takenly advanced  into  Wies.  Too  late,  this  group  realized  their  mis- 
take. However,  their  absence  did  not  minimize  the  sharpness  of  the 
attack  on  Nennig. 

When  Captain  Way  emerged  from  the  smoke  he  made  two  startling 
discoveries.  In  leaving  the  LD  he  had  veered  to  the  north  and  was 
now  facing  the  open  country  between  Nennig  and  Wies.  Also,  his 
left  assault  platoon  was  missing.  There  was  no  time  to  attempt  to 
locate  Lieutenant  Morse  and  his  men.  The  only  solution  was  to  replace 
the  left  platoon  with  the  support.  This  was  done  quickly  and  the 
attack  was  launched,  not  from  the  west  as  planned  but  from  the 
north. 

Imbued  with  a  feeling  of  complete  confidence  and  sure  of  success, 
the  men  of  Company  K  came  into  Nennig  on  the  run,  shouting  at  the 
top  of  their  lungs  and  shooting  everything  in  sight.  Despite  the  de- 
layed start,  surprise  was  complete.  House  after  house  was  taken 
against  little  opposition  for  the  Germans  seemed  to  be  anticipating 
an  attack  from  the  south.  Twenty  minutes  after  the  leading  infantry- 
man dashed  into  Nennig,  this  objective  was  completely  in  American 
hands.  Initially  there  was  little  or  no  enemy  artillery  fire  brought  on 
the  town,  though  Besch,  to  the  south,  was  being  pounded  heavily. 
However,  intense  machine-gun  fire  was  being  received  from  the  north. 

Only  three  casualties  were  suffered  in  accomplishing  this  portion 
of  the  battalion  mission.  Lieutenant  James  H.  McCoy,  leader  of  the 
3d  Platoon  and  the  first  man  to  cross  the  line  of  departure,  was  fatally 
wounded  before  entering  the  town.  Twenty-three  prisoners  were  taken 
and  at  least  ninety-five  casualties,  both  dead  and  wounded,  were  in- 
flicted on  the  enemy.  What  remained  of  the  enemy  garrison  withdrew 
toward  Sinz  on  the  run,  pursued  by  American  fire. 


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In  Wies,  Company  K's  2d  Platoon  encountered  stiff  resistance  from 
a  German  force  of  approximately  fifty  men  who  were  garrisoning  the 
town.  Stubborn  house  to  house  fighting  developed,  in  which  the 
platoon  leader  was  wounded  and  about  a  squad  lost.  Enemy  machine 
guns  emplaced  in  the  row  of  buildings  three  hundred  yards  north  of 
the  town  and  just  south  of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road,  directed  intense 
and  accurate  fire  against  the  attackers.  During  a  lull  in  the  firing, 
elements  of  the  2d  Platoon  attempted  to  cross  the  open  fields  north 
of  Wies  to  silence  these  guns.  When  the  leading  scout  was  within 
fifty  yards  of  the  nearest  house,  the  German  gunners  opened  up, 
catching  the  attackers  in  a  fire  pattern  of  great  intensity.  The  men  hit 
the  ground  and  attempted  to  maneuver,  but  the  slightest  movement 
drew  increased  fire  which  caused  additional  casualties. 

Lieutenant  King,  who  had  set  up  his  mortars  in  the  center  of  Wies, 
when  informed  of  the  situation  attempted  to  cover  a  withdrawal 
by  smoking  the  area.  This  did  not  succeed  as  the  wind  so  thinned  the 
smoke  it  failed  to  obscure  the  vision  of  the  enemy  gunners.  The  mor- 
tars next  resorted  to  HE  despite  the  danger  of  possible  shorts.  Several 
rounds  were  planted  on  the  roofs  of  the  houses,  but  only  one  machine 
gun  was  knocked  out  in  this  manner.  Other  guns  continued  firing 
from  the  lower  floors  where  the  81s  could  not  reach  them.  Ammuni- 
tion was  beginning  to  run  low  and  Lieutenant  King  was  anxious  to 
get  into  Nennig  where  he  should  have  gone  originally. 

About  this  time,  Captain  Brightman  arrived  on  the  scene,  attempting 
to  learn  the  situation  before  deploying  his  company.  With  him  was 
his  leading  platoon,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  William  M.  Golden- 
sweig.  When  he  learned  of  the  predicament  of  the  men  pinned  down 
in  front  of  Wies,  the  CO  of  Company  L  directed  Lieutenant  Golden- 
sweig  to  use  his  platoon  in  an  attempt  to  relieve  pressure  on  this 
group.  Unfortunately,  this  proved  impossible,  as  all  approaches  to 
the  position  were  exposed  to  the  grazing  fire  of  the  enemy's  automatic 
weapons. 

The  Germans  continued  to  fire  whenever  there  was  the  slightest 
movement  among  the  troops  silhouetted  against  the  snow.  A  number 
of  men  had  been  hit,  but  remained  motionless  despite  their  pain. 
Finally,  a  German  officer  and  a  medic  carrying  a  white  flag  approached 
from  the  buildings  and  spoke  to  the  men.  He  offered  to  allow  the 
removal  of  the  litter  cases  if  the  others  would  surrender.  If  not,  the 
process  of  elimination  would  continue.  Realizing  the  hopelessness  of 
the  situation  and  fearing  the  wounded  would  soon  die  if  unattended, 
the  men  agreed.  American  medics  carried  off  the  seriously  wounded 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


while  the  enemy  led  away  the  others.  At  1530  hours,  battalion  received 
word  that  part  of  the  2d  Platoon  of  Company  K  had  been  captured. 

Back  in  Nennig,  the  other  platoons  of  Company  K  organized  the  de- 
fenses of  that  town  and  set  up  a  security  outpost  on  the  ridge  to  the 
east,  at  the  edge  of  the  woods.  Repeatedly,  German  infantry  within 
the  woods  probed  this  position.  It  was  subjected  to  continuous  mortar 
and  artillery  fire  in  the  days  that  followed,  and  small  enemy  groups 
would  infiltrate  through  it  nightly  to  slip  into  Nennig.  The  possibility 
of  this  undermanned  position  being  overwhelmed  by  counterattack  was 
always  present.  However,  the  ridge  had  to  be  held  or  Nennig  would 
become  practically  untenable  and  the  whole  battalion  position  would 
be  jeopardized. 

During  the  morning  Lieutenant  Raymond  G.  Fox's  platoon  of  Com- 
pany I  was  ordered  forward  from  the  battalion  reserve  position  in 
Besch  and  attached  to  Company  K.  At  1000  hours,  Captain  Way 
ordered  Lieutenant  Fox  to  take  a  contact  patrol  to  the  1st  Battalion 
on  the  right.  Lieutenant  Thomas  A.  Daly,  whose  platoon  was  in  posi- 
tion on  the  east  of  Nennig,  decided  to  accompany  the  group  as  he 
was  anxious  to  see  the  terrain  over  which  an  enemy  attack  would 
approach  his  position. 

The  patrol  moved  out  in  good  order  and  crossed  the  high  ground 
east  of  town,  following  the  stream  line  along  the  north  edge  of  the 
woods.  After  proceeding  about  eight  hundred  yards  it  discovered  an 
enemy  infantry  position  in  the  woods.  The  patrol  leader  estimated  the 
German  force  at  about  fifty  men  and  had  his  men  open  fire.  This 
fire  was  returned  promptly.  Two  machine  guns  were  being  employed 
against  the  patrol  when  Lieutenant  Daly  suggested  that  the  rest  of  the 
party  cover  him  while  he  worked  his  way  along  a  shallow  ditch  which 
led  toward  the  nearest  gun.  This  was  done  and  Lieutenant  Daly 
crawled  to  a  position  immediately  in  front  of  the  machine  gun.  A 
skillfully  lobbed  grenade  killed  two  of  the  crew;  Lieutenant  Daly  dis- 
posed of  the  remaining  Germans  with  his  pistol.  He  then  withdrew 
under  the  covering  fire  of  the  patrol,  bringing  with  him  the  German 
machine  gun.  Contact  was  broken  and  the  patrol  pulled  back.  A  mes- 
senger sent  to  Captain  Way  with  word  of  what  had  happened  returned 
with  orders  for  the  group  to  return  to  Nennig. 

By  the  time  this  party  arrived  in  Nennig,  orders  had  been  received 
from  battalion  definitely  specifying  a  time  and  place  for  contact  with 
the  1st  Battalion  by  means  of  patrol.  Consequently,  that  afternoon 
Technical  Sergeant  Francis  M.  Fields  led  a  second  patrol  whose  mission 


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was  to  make  contact  with  a  party  from  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's 
battalion  in  the  vicinity  of  a  pillbox  about  midway  between  Nennig 
and  Tettingen.  South  of  the  woods  but  north  of  the  contact  point,  this 
group  was  engaged  from  the  pillbox  in  question  and  the  series  of  com- 
munication trenches  surrounding  it.  There  was  no  sign  of  the  1st 
Battalion  patrol  and  Sergeant  Fields  led  his  men  back  to  Nennig. 

Upon  his  own  suggestion,  Lieutenant  Fox  took  his  platooa  on  this 
same  mission  after  dark.  Advancing  to  the  vicinity  of  the  pillbox,  the 
platoon  was  engaged  by  automatic-weapons  fire  and  hand  grenades  as 
they  ran  into  an  antipersonnel  minefield.  For  thirty  minutes  the  platoon 
fought  without  making  any  headway.  Then,  a  runner  dispatched  to 
Captain  Way  returned  with  word  to  abandon  the  attempt  Lieutenant 
Fox  and  his  men  withdrew  to  Nennig  where  they  set  up  a  defensive 
position  for  the  night. 

When  the  men  of  Company  L  took  over  the  assault  of  Wies,  they 
were  repeatedly  delayed  by  enemy  machine  guns  emplaced  in  the  north- 
west section  of  town.  Artillery  fire  brought  to  bear  on  the  fortified 
buildings  housing  these  weapons  greatly  assisted  the  advance,  but  it 
was  not  until  late  in  the  afternoon  that  the  town  was  finally  cleared. 
Strong  rifle  and  machine-gun  positions  were  Hastily  prepared  covering 
the  approaches  from  the  north,  northeast  and  southeast,  and  antitank 
mines  were  placed  across  the  road  facing  the  $nemy.  Following  these 
preparations,  a  platoon  from  Company  L  moved  on  Berg,  which  fell 
at  about  1730  hours.  This  completed  the  attack  phase  of  the  battalion 
mission. 

For  communication,  reliance  was  placed  on  both  wire  and  radio.  The 
latter  performed  extremely  well,  but  the  volume  of  traffic  fell  to  the 
field  telephones.  Lines  between  regiment  and  battalion  were  main- 
tained effectively  by  teams  from  Colonel  McClune's  headquarters.  For- 
ward of  Besch,  the  lines  were  a  battalion  responsibility;  here  difficulties 
increased  a  hundredfold.  These  lines  were  constantly  going  out  due 
to  heavy  enemy  shelling. 

Early  on  the  morning  of  the  15th,  before  the  attack  began,  Lieuten- 
ant Inman  E.  Mallard  and  Staff  Sergeant  Gladwin  J.  Flory,  battalion 
intelligence  sergeant,  crossed  the  Moselle  into  Luxembourg  on  the  ferry 
which  the  Division  engineers  were  operating  below  Besch.  They  pro- 
ceeded into  Remich  and  there  selected  a  site  for  an  observation  post 
which  Sergeant  Flory  was  to  man.  The  high  ground  on  this  side  of  the 
river  gave  complete  observation  of  the  battle  area  from  Thorn  to  Sinz 


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and  south  from  this  line  to  Tettingen.  Every  move  made  by  the  enemy 
in  Nennig  was  visible  from  this  OP.  From  this  location  numerous  fire 
missions  were  conducted  and  valuable  G-2  information  was  obtained. 
It  had  been  planned  to  man  the  position  for  only  one  day,  but  due  to 
its  importance  the  observation  post  was  kept  in  operation  until  the  19th 
of  January. 

Originally  the  Besch-Nennig  road  proved  impracticable  as  a  supply 
route.  Enemy  artillery  was  accurately  zeroed  on  it,  it  was  known  to  be 
mined  and  during  daylight  hours  it  was  under  direct  observation  and 
fire  from  the  pillboxes  to  the  east.  Hence,  the  route  of  the  attacking 
companies  had  to  be  used  initially  for  the  resupply  of  the  3d  Battalion. 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  personally  led  the  first  forty-man  carrying 
party,  composed  of  men  from  the  A&P  Platoon,  Company  M  and  the 
regimental  Antitank  Company  which  brought  up  ammunition,  medical 
supplies,  wire  and  some  K  rations  the  first  night.  These  were  dumped 
at  the  railroad  tracks,  west  of  Nennig,  where  distribution  was  made  to 
details  sent  back  by  the  rifle  companies. 

Because  of  the  size  of  the  town,  Company  K  found  it  impossible  to 
garrison  every  house  in  Nennig.  All  night  long,  enemy  patrols  were 
active  and  repeatedly  they  seized  unoccupied  buildings.  Captain  Way, 
Lieutenant  Ralph  C.  Brown,  and  Lieutenant  Hodges,  with  the  aid  of 
personnel  from  company  headquarters  were  kept  busy  driving  out 
groups  of  Wehrmacht  intruders. 

At  2130  hours,  the  battalion  reserve  was  ordered  into  Nennig;  as 
soon  as  it  arrived,  Company  I  took  over  positions  in  the  southern  and 
western  portions  of  town.  This  greatly  strengthened  the  battalion's 
defenses.  The  following  morning  Lieutenant  Fox's  platoon  was  re- 
turned to  the  control  of  Company  I. 

During  the  early  morning  hours  of  January  16,  1945,  enemy  mortar 
and  artillery  fire  on  Berg  increased.  Behind  a  barrage,  estimated  con- 
servatively at  two  artillery  battalions,  came  the  first  real  counterattack. 
A  force  of  about  one  hundred  infantrymen  had  worked  up  the  wooded 
draw  east  of  the  town,  then  deployed  in  the  darkness.  Yelling  threats 
and  insults  in  English,  they  attempted  to  storm  the  Schloss.  Severe 
hand-to-hand  fighting  followed  and  the  situation  remained  utterly  con- 
fused for  almost  two  hours.  During  the  fighting,  one  of  the  machine 
guns  attached  to  Lieutenant  Dale  E.  Bowyer's  platoon  was  lost  and  a 
rifle  squad  captured.  Later  this  squad  escaped  and  returned  unharmed. 
Finally  the  enemy  withdrew  leaving  behind  some  sixty  of  their  dead. 

An  hour  after  the  start  of  the  enemy  attack  on  Berg,  heavy  mortar 
and  artillery  fire  on  Nennig  ushered  in  the  second  counterattack  of 


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•alerted  the  rifle  platoon.  This  attack  closely  resembled  the  attempt  on 


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NENNIG-BERG-WIES 


109 


again  increased.  This  heralded  another  attack  in  which  about  two  pla- 
toons were  employed.  It  was  spotted  at  about  the  same  time  by  Staff 
Sergeant  Leroy  McPherson's  heavy  machine  guns  on  the  ridge  north 
of  town  and  the  OP  in  Luxembourg.  The  HMGs  broke  up  the  attack 
and  the  survivors  took  refuge  in  the  woods  east  of  Nennig.  Before  the 
attack  was  repulsed  however,  a  German  machine-gun  crew  broke 
through  the  defenses  and  set  up  their  gun  within  fifty  yards  of  the 
battalion  forward  command  post.  Here  they  went  into  action  firing 
down  the  main  street.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston,  using  an  Ml, 
killed  the  machine  gunner  and  wounded  a  German  bazookaman  who 
was  working  into  position  to  knock  out  one  of  the  tank  destroyers  in 
the  vicinity  of  the  CP. 

On  the  morning  of  January  16,  1945,  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  com- 
manded by  Lieutenant  Colonel  Olivius  C.  Martin,  was  directed  to 
launch  an  attack  on  the  woods  southwest  of  Tettingen.  Object  of  this 
thrust  was  to  eliminate  the  enemy  positions  in  rear  of  the  inner  flanks 
of  the  two  narrow  salients  driven  into  the  Siegfried  Switch  Line  by  the 
1st  and  3d  Battalions.  This  would  consolidate  the  position  and  relieve 
some  of  the  pressure  constantly  being  brought  to  bear  on  the  captured 
towns. 

At  the  same  time,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  was  directed  to 
extend  his  right  flank  to  the  east  to  establish  contact  with  the  left  of 
the  2d  Battalion.  Toward  this  end,  Company  I  moved  from  Nennig  at 
1330  hours  on  the  day  of  the  attack,  in  column  of  platoons.  The  2d, 
1st  and  4th  Platoons  took  positions,  in  that  order,  in  the  communica- 
tion trenches  leading  out  of  Nennig,  while  the  3d  Platoon  dug  posi- 
tions in  the  orchard  midway  between  Nennig  and  Tettingen.  To  the 
rear  of  the  company  were  numerous  pillboxes,  bunkers  and  mortar 
positions  still  manned  by  the  enemy.  From  the  latter  Company  I  was 
shelled  constantly;  as  time  passed  casualties  began  to  mount. 

Lieutenant  Colonel  Martin's  attack  jumped  off  as  scheduled  with 
Companies  F  and  G  in  the  assault.  The  ground  was  rough,  heavily 
wooded  and  infested  with  enemy  positions,  but  by  noon  most  of  the 
area  had  been  cleared.  From  a  pair  of  pillboxes  southeast  of  Lieuten- 
ant Fox's  position  in  the  orchard,  Company  F  took  fifty-two  prisoners. 
It  was  learned  that  these  boxes  were  used  as  an  aid  station  and  rest 
bunker,  respectively.  Also  taken  in  this  general  mop-up  was  an  am- 
munition dump  and  several  machine  guns. 

During  the  afternoon,  the  assault  companies  of  the  2d  Battalion 
continued  forward  and  Companies  I  and  G  established  the  desired 


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contact  when  a  rifleman  of  the  former  company  crawled  over  to  the 
left  flank  of  the  2d  Battalion. 

During  this  period,  the  heavy  machine  guns  on  the  ridge  north  of 
Nennig  were  receiving  a  good  deal  of  attention  from  the  enemy  artil- 
lery which  attempted  to  soften  up  the  area  for  its  infantry.  Six  times 
German  combat  patrols  tried  to  overrun  these  positions;  six  times  they 
were  beaten  back. 

On  the  night  of  the  16th,  the  forward  echelon  of  the  3d  Battalion 
command  post  moved  into  Nennig.  To  provide  wire  communication 
with  regiment,  a  crew  led  by  Staff  Sergeant  James  L.  Jennings  laid  a 
line  from  Perl  across  the  Moselle,  south  of  Besch,  and  up  the  west  bank 
of  the  river.  Opposite  Nennig  the  wire  team  recrossed  the  ice-filled 
river  in  an  assault  boat  manned  by  engineers.  The  detail  was  shelled 
roundly  before  it  left  the  Luxembourg  shore  and  while  it  was  in  mid- 
stream. As  the  engineers  paddled,  weighted  wire  was  paid  out  by  the 
wireman.  When  the  crew  reached  the  east  bank  of  the  river,  it  con- 
tinued the  line  to  the  battalion  CP.  Here  a  telephone  was  connected 
and  a  test  call  made.  The  line  functioned. 

At  0430  hours  the  morning  of  the  17th,  the  wire  team  started  back 
to  Perl,  after  several  postponements  caused  by  the  intense  artillery 
fire  descending  on  the  town.  When  the  tired  but  satisfied  crew  finally 
reported  at  regiment,  they  received  the  disheartening  news  that  their 
line  had  gone  out  while  they  were  returning.  The  following  day,  the 
problem  of  wire  communications  to  the  3d  Battalion  was  solved  by 
Technician  Fourth  Grade  Mervin  L.  Moore  and  Staff  Sergeant  Delbert 
A.  Larson  when  they  laid  a  line  straight  up  the  railroad  tracks  into 
Nennig,  using  the  rails  to  protect  the  wire  from  the  constant  artillery 
and  mortar  fire.  This  line  remained  in  service  for  a  record  length  of 
time. 

Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  next  received  orders  to  reduce  the  pill- 
boxes in  the  area  behind  Company  I.  The  2d  Platoon  of  that  com- 
pany was  assigned  the  mission  and  Lieutenant  Pablo  Arenaz  made  a 
detailed  reconnaissance.  He  reported  to  the  battalion  commander  that 
he  did  not  believe  he  could  accomplish  this  mission  with  the  force 
available,  as  his  platoon  numbered  only  eighteen  men. 

Consequently,  the  assignment  was  given  to  Lieutenant  Ravnel  V. 
Burgamy's  1st  Platoon.  The  platoon  was  divided  into  two  assault 
groups  and  all  available  flame  throwers,  pole  and  satchel  charges  were 
gathered.  At  2030  hours  this  assault  force  moved  out.  The  eight  hun- 
dred yards  of  open  ground  that  lay  between  the  attackers  and  the  deep 


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draw  one  hundred  yards  in  front  of  the  first  pillbox,  were  crossed 
without  incident.  There  they  discovered  that,  despite  the  efforts  of 
the  gunners,  ice  had  formed  in  the  light  machine  guns;  the  weapons 
were  useless.  Only  functioning  automatic  weapon  was  the  one  BAR 
with  the  group. 

Taking  Private  First  Class  John  Mauro,  Jr.,  with  him,  Lieutenant 
Burgamy  left  the  main  party  in  the  draw  while  he  went  forward.  When 
close  to  the  pillbox,  the  two  men  encountered  a  number  of  trip  wires 
and  halted.  As  previously  planned,  the  BAR  and  rifles  opened  up. 
This  fire  was  returned  by  the  enemy,  not  from  the  pillbox,  but  from 
several  positions  around  it.  The  pillbox  sent  up  signal  flares  and 
shortly  thereafter  both  mortar  and  artillery  fire  landed  on  the  platoon. 
Private  First  Class  Ray  Sweeny,  the  BAR-man,  was  ordered  to  cover 
a  withdrawal  and  the  platoon  pulled  back.  Informed  of  the  situation, 
the  battalion  commander,  after  personally  investigating,  ordered  Lieu- 
tenant Burgamy  to  make  no  further  attempt  on  the  pillbox. 

During  the  night  of  the  1 6th- 17th  enemy  patrols  were  active,  prob- 
ing the  entire  battalion  front.  Company  L,  with  the  assistance  of  the 
artillery,  broke  up  an  enemy  attack  before  midnight,  inflicting  some 
twenty  casualties.  About  0500  hours,  a  large  German  patrol  attempted 
to  enter  Berg  from  the  northeast  but  was  stopped  in  its  tracks  by  Lieu- 
tenant Bowyer's  platoon.  In  Wies,  Private  First  Class  James  F.  Johns- 
ton of  Company  L  was  hit  by  a  shell  fragment  while  manning  the 
company  OP.  He  refused  to  quit  his  post  until  relief  arrived.  The 
following  day  he  died  of  wounds. 

Early  on  the  morning  of  the  17th,  one  of  Lieutenant  Fox's  men 
reported  enemy  infantry  in  a  column  of  twos  approaching  the  position, 
across  the  open  ground  in  front  of  the  orchard.  The  platoon  was 
alerted  and  instructions  given  to  hold  fire  until  the  Germans  were 
within  fifty  yards.  Apparently  unaware  of  the  presence  of  the  Ameri- 
cans, the  column  continued  to  advance,  presumably  heading  for  the 
pillbox  area  to  the  southwest.  At  the  designated  time,  fire  was  brought 
to  bear  and  a  number  of  the  enemy  fell.  The  remainder  of  the  group 
withdrew  in  disorder  to  the  woods  where  they  re-formed.  A  frontal 
assault  followed  which  provided  the  3d  Platoon  with  even  better  tar- 
gets. Subsequent  attacks  were  launched  from  slightly  different  posi- 
tions, in  waves  of  twenty-five  men.  These  thrusts  continued  until  about 
1100  hours  the  following  morning;  all  attacks  were  beaten  back  before 
the  enemy  was  able  to  get  within  grenade  range. 

Being  unable  to  take  the  position  by  storm,  some  of  the  Germans 
infiltrated  through  the  thin  strip  of  woods  between  the  3d  and  4th 


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Platoons.  They  set  up  machine  guns  to  the  left  front  and  rear  of  the 
platoon  position,  preventing  reinforcement  or  resupply  and  rendering 
counterattack  on  the  part  of  Lieutenant  Fox's  men  out  of  the  question. 
Soon  this  developed  into  an  all-around  siege.  The  telephone  wire  was 
cut,  and  one  of  the  two  men  sent  to  repair  it  was  killed  while  the 
other  returned  without  being  able  to  splice  the  line. 

Late  in  the  afternoon,  two  figures  were  seen  crawling  toward  the 
platoon's  rear.  Between  them,  they  alternately  pushed  and  pulled  a 
wooden  box.  Uncertain  of  the  identity  of  the  pair,  Lieutenant  Fox's 
men  allowed  them  to  advance  but  kept  them  under  close  observation. 
Much  to  the  surprise  of  the  platoon,  the  pair  turned  out  to  be  Lieu- 
tenant Colonel  Thurston  and  his  driver,  Technician  Fifth  Grade 
Thomas  M.  Clausi.  The  box  was  a  C  ration  crate  which  was  half  full; 
a  welcome  addition  to  the  larder.  The  battalion  commander  informed 
the  platoon  that  he  had  drawn  no  fire  in  coming  forward  and  instructed 
Lieutenant  Fox  that  under  no  circumstances  was  the  position  to  be 
yielded  to  the  enemy.  Before  leaving,  the  CO  made  the  platoon  leader 
a  present  of  the  bandoleer  of  .30-caliber  ammunition  he  was  carrying. 
After  this,  the  position  was  attacked  by  several  light  combat  patrols, 
all  of  which  were  repulsed. 

Meanwhile,  living  in  the  captured  towns  continued  as  uncomfortable 
and  dangerous  as  ever.  Enemy  machine-gun,  mortar  and  artillery  fire 
was  relentless,  continuing  night  and  day.  Nightly  enemy  patrols  man- 
aged to  infiltrate  the  position.  In  Wies,  Captain  Brightman  ordered 
all  men  of  his  command  to  remain  indoors  during  the  hours  of  dark- 
ness and  arranged  to  have  time  fire  descend  on  the  town  periodically, 
in  an  attempt  to  discourage  German  curiosity. 

In  Nennig,  the  number  of  enemy  dead  had  become  quite  a  problem. 
As  frequent  combat  patrols  were  driven  out  and  infiltrating  groups 
were  hunted  down,  the  number  of  corpses  increased.  Since  there  was 
no  possible  way  of  evacuating  these  bodies,  they  were  collected  and 
laid  out  neatly  in  one  of  the  houses.  (Later  the  enemy  retook  this 
building.  Berlin  Sally  reported  these  German  dead  were  prisoners  of 
war  murdered  in  cold  blood  and  dubbed  the  94th  "Roosevelt's 
Butchers.") 

On  the  17th  at  approximately  1000  hours,  Lieutenant  Daly  observed 
twenty  Germans  approaching  his  positions  along  the  draw  to  the  east. 
When  the  Germans  had  closed  to  within  seventy-five  yards,  Lieutenant 
Daly  decided  to  test  his  limited  knowledge  of  the  German  language. 
From  the  shelter  of  a  doorway  he  called,  "Kommen  sle  hier"  The 
officer  leading  the  patrol  hesitated,  but  when  his  aide  handed  him  a 


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ing  the  murderous  mortar  and  artillery  fire  that  constantly  pounded 
their  positions. 

The  following  day  an  assault  team  from  Company  G,  under  Lieu- 
tenant Edward  G.  Litka,  attacked  two  of  the  pillboxes  that  had  re- 
pulsed Company  Is  offensive.  About  one  hundred  yards  in  front  of 
these  boxes  was  a  tank  trap  which  afforded  a  covered  route  of  approach. 
The  assault  force  advanced  through  the  woods,  entered  the  tank  ditch 
and  moved  up  it  to  a  point  opposite  their  objective.  There  they  mounted 
two  light  machine  guns  plus  a  pair  of  BARs  atop  the  ditch.  The  auto- 
matic weapons,  firing  in  conjunction  with  the  tank  destroyers  in  the 
edge  of  the  woods,  kept  the  pillboxes  buttoned-up  and  permitted  two 
riflemen  carrying  satchel  charges  to  move  forward.  These  men  had 
not  advanced  more  than  twenty-five  yards  though,  when  mortar  shells 
began  exploding  in  their  immediate  vicinity.  So  well  zeroed  were  the 
mortars,  they  were  able  to  walk  up  and  down  the  antitank  ditch  in 
addition  to  covering  the  area  in  front  of  the  bunkers.  This  intense 
and  accurate  fire  forced  the  withdrawal  of  the  detail.  Of  the  eighteen- 
man  assault  group,  one  man  was  killed  and  nine  wounded. 

During  the  day  of  the  18th,  there  were  continued  reports  of  German 
tanks  in  the  area.  Enemy  wire  parties  were  observed  laying  new  lines 
from  pillboxes  to  OPs  and  the  observation  post  in  Luxembourg 
reported  large-scale  troop  movements  to  the  north.  All  indications 
pointed  to  an  early  counterattack  in  strength. 

At  approximately  1430  hours,  Berg  and  Wies  were  deluged  with  a 
fifteen-minute  barrage  of  enemy  artillery  conservatively  estimated  at 
four  battalions.  When  this  fire  lifted,  the  towns  were  hit  from  the 
east  and  north  by  a  battalion  attack.  All  telephone  lines  were  out  and 
the  artillery  observer's  radio  had  been  destroyed.  Captain  Brightman 
conducted  his  artillery  support  by  means  of  an  SCR-300  channeled  to 
the  OP  in  Luxembourg  from  whence  messages  were  relayed  to  an 
artillery  liaison  officer  in  Besch.  This  fire  so  effectively  whittled  down 
the  attacking  force  that  the  machine  gunners  and  riflemen  in  these 
towns  were  able  to  repel  easily  the  survivors. 

Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  concluded  his  After  Action  Report  on 
this  phase  of  the  fighting  with  these  words: 

By  1700  the  last  living  German  had  loped  back  across  the  ridges  and  the 
attack  had  failed  ...  I  judge  that  a  full  strength  battalion  attacked  Berg  and 
Wies  .  .  .  some  three  hundred  dead  or  wounded  remained  on  the  snow-covered 
fields  when  the  last  shot  had  been  fired.  Moans  and  cries  of  the  wounded  were 
plainly  audible  from  both  towns. 


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,#iil;§tf|§^    v':"'".'  ®        . :  ! 

The  night  *'A  the       9th  passed  quietly    Apparently  d;e  Germans 


Chapter  13:  TETTINGEN  COUNTERATTACK 


ON  JANUARY  15,  1945,  when  Colonel  McClune  ordered  his 
1st  and  3d  Battalions  to  establish  contact  by  patrols,  at  a  pill- 
box located  about  midway  between  Tettingen  and  Nennig,  a 
ten-man  patrol  from  Company  C  was  dispatched  to  contact  the  group 
from  the  3d  Battalion,  led  by  Technical  Sergeant  Francis  M.  Fields  of 
Company  I.  The  Company  C  patrol  proceeded  west,  through  the  woods, 
to  the  vicinity  of  the  Tettingen-Nennig  road.  Here  they  encountered 
Schmeisser  and  rifle  fire  and  detoured  to  the  south.  Again  enemy  auto- 
matic weapons  and  rifle  fire  were  encountered.  By  skillful  maneuver, 
the  group  finally  worked  its  way  to  a  point  some  fifty  yards  short  of 
the  appointed  box  where  they  were  subjected  to  an  intense  mortar 
barrage.  They  remained  in  observation  a  short  time;  then  withdrew. 
At  the  same  time,  Sergeant  Fields  and  his  men,  unaware  of  the  presence 
of  the  1st  Battalion  patrol,  were  receiving  similar  treatment  from  the 
enemy  fifty  yards  to  the  north  of  this  pillbox.  Desired  contact  was 
not  made. 

There  were  two  small  counterattacks  on  the  evening  of  the  15th. 
The  first  of  these  was  directed  against  Company  B  and  was  soon  beaten 
back  for  in  this  attack  not  more  than  fifty  Germans  were  involved. 
Following  this,  Company  C  stopped  an  enemy  infantry  thrust,  sup- 
ported by  four  Mark  IV  tanks.  Bazookas  were  employed  effectively; 
two  of  the  armored  vehicles  retired,  trailing  smoke  behind  them.  As 
the  bazooka  teams  warmed  to  their  job,  the  remaining  tanks  elected 
to  withdraw  for  the  greater  number  of  their  supporting  infantry  had 
been  either  killed  or  wounded  by  the  volume  of  fire  brought  to  bear 
from  the  battalion's  rifles,  automatic  weapons,  mortars  and  supporting 
artillery. 

This  same  night  Lieutenant  Chalkley  sent  a  reconnaissance  patrol 
under  Sergeant  Soka  to  investigate  the  area  to  the  east  of  the  platoon's 
position.  This  group  reported  the  location  of  one  pillbox  whose  sector 
of  fire  was  in  the  direction  of  Butzdorf.  In  the  vicinity  of  this  box 
there  were  several  concrete  bunkers.  Both  these  and  the  pillbox  wrere 
occupied,  as  voices  had  been  heard  from  within. 

In  Wochern,  Lieutenant  William  P.  Springer  decided  to  change  the 
position  of  his  81s  as  they  were  drawing  too  much  fire.  Scarcely  had 
the  guns  been  moved  when  an  artillery  shell  scored  a  direct  hit  on  the 
evacuated  site.  One  man  who  had  remained  in  the  vicinity  was 
wounded.  . 

Wochern  itself  resembled  a  boom  town;  the  streets  of  this  village 
hummed  with  activity.  Tank  destroyers,  two-and-a-halfs,  weapons  car- 
riers and  jeeps  passed  through,  milled  around  or  jockeyed  for  position. 

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Signalmen  festooned  the  fronts  of  the  buildings  with  wire  while  staff 
and  supply  echelons  went  about  their  various  duties  indoors.  The  streets 
swarmed  with  men  and  machines  until  the  first  whine  of  incoming 
artillery  or  rocket  fire  was  heard;  then,  in  fractions  of  a  second,  they 
became  deserted  except  for  the  vehicles.  In  the  rifleman's  sense  of  the 
term  Wochern  was  rear-area,  but  nine  men  we|e  killed  and  twenty- 
four  wounded  in  the  town  during  the  days  immediately  following  the 
attack  of  the  1st  Battalion. 

For  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's  men  the  16th  proved  a  quiet  day. 
Intermittent  artillery,  mortar,  and  machine-gun  fire  fell  on  the  towns 
but  there  was  no  attempt  on  the  part  of  the  enemy  to  recoup  losses. 
To  the  west  could  be  heard  the  noise  of  the  2d  Battalion's  attack  in 
the  woods. 

During  the  night,  Lieutenant  James  W.  Cornelius,  accompanied  by 
Sergeant  Jesse  R.  Tower  of  the  319th  Engineers,  led  a  patrol  whose 
mission  was  to  blow  the  pillbox  and  bunkers  located  the  previous 
night.  The  box  was  found  unoccupied  and  a  thousand  pounds  of  nitro- 
starch  were  hauled  forward  and  installed.  At  the  touch  of  the  engi- 
neers, the  dome  blew  clear  and  the  sides  crumbled.  Of  the  bunkers 
only  one  was  found  to  be  occupied;  against  its  steel  door,  two  of 
Sergeant  Tower's  men  laid  a  150-pound  satchel  charge.  When  deto- 
nated, this  charge  completely  demolished  the  door,  but  the  patrol's 
activity  brought  down  a  mortar  barrage  and  it  was  decided  to  wait 
until  morning  to  check  the  damage  done. 

With  the  coming  of  daylight,  the  doorless  bunker  was  clearly  visible 
from  the  front  line.  A  German  medic,  accompanied  by  another  soldier, 
entered  town  shortly  after  dawn,  under  a  white  flag,  and  requested  per- 
mission to  remove  the  wounded  from  the  bunker.  This  was  granted, 
but  the  soldier  accompanying  the  aid  man  was  detained.  A  short  time 
later,  a  German  half-track  approached  over  the  hill;  seven  wounded 
were  carried  out  of  the  bunker  and  loaded  into  this  vehicle. 

About  noon,  Company  B  was  withdrawn  from  Tettingen  and  went 
into  position  in  the  woods  west  of  the  town.  There  they  relieved  Com- 
pany F  which  had  helped  clear  this  sector  the  previous  day.  Captain 
Henry  C.  Bowden  placed  his  three  rifle  platoons  on  line,  along  the 
1,000  yard  front  for  which  his  company  was  responsible.  Fifteen 
hundred  yards  off  the  left  flank  of  the  company  were  the  five  pillboxes 
still  held  by  the  enemy.  To  the  northwest,  in  Nennig,  was  the  3d 
Battalion  with  Lieutenant  Fox's  platoon  of  Company  I  holding  its 
right  flank.  Lieutenant  Fox,  in  the  orchard,  was  approximately  five 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


hundred  yards  northwest  of  Company  B's  left.  Contact  was  to  be  made 
between  the  two  battalions  by  these  flank  units. 

German  radio  broadcasts  from  the  Berlin  station  on  the  night  of  the 
17th  told  of  heavy  fighting  in  the  vicinity  of  Remich  and  intimated 
that  there  was  more  to  come.  This  was  both  a  threat  and  a  promise, 
for  the  II  Battalion  of  the  71 4th  Grenadier  Regiment,  commanded  by 
Lieutenant  Reudiger,  had  crossed  the  Saar  and  assumed  a  defensive 
position  along  the  ridge  south  of  Sinz.  In  addition,  General  Wend 
von  Wietersheim's  11th  Panzer  Division  was  on  the  way.  The  11th 
had  been  out  of  contact  since  the  middle  of  December  while  it  was 
being  refitted  in  the  vicinity  of  Bitburg.  Its  15th  Tank  Regiment  had 
received  a  considerable  number  of  new  Panthers  and  Mark  IVs,  which 
brought  the  unit's  total  strength  in  panzers  to  almost  100  vehicles. 
A  great  number  of  replacements  had  been  integrated  into  the  110th 
Panzergrenadier  Regiment,  which  suffered  heavily  in  the  battle  for 
Metz.  Having  sustained  considerably  fewer  casualties,  the  111th  Pan- 
zergrenadiers  were  given  many  less  replacements.  The  Antitank  Bat- 
talion had  been  equipped  with  sixteen  low-slung  assault  guns,  while 
the  I  Battalion  of  the  110th  and  the  engineer  companies  of  both 
regiments  had  been  mounted  on  half-tracks. 

American  tactical  reconnaissance  planes  had  picked  up  traces  of  the 
11th  Panzer's  crossing  north  of  Saarburg  the  previous  day,  and  G-2 
had  alerted  all  elements  of  the  Division  against  surprise  by  enemy 
armor.  On  the  17th,  overcast  skies  prevented  continued  aerial  recon- 
naissance; exact  whereabouts  of  the  Germans'  Ghost  Division  was 
unknown. 

On  the  heels  of  this  alert,  the  sound  of  track-laying  vehicles  was 
heard  along  the  front  of  the  376th  Infantry.  Extensive  antitank  pre- 
cautions were  taken  and  extra  supplies  of  bazooka  ammunition  were 
brought  forward  and  issued.  Lieutenant  Palmer  and  his  engineers  laid 
mines  along  the  road  leading  into  Butzdorf  and  strung  a  belt  of  mines 
along  the  east  side  of  Tettingen.  Daisy  chains,  pole  and  satchel  charges 
were  prepared  and  placed  in  readiness. 

About  midnight  tanks  were  heard  in  the  vicinity  of  Campholz 
Woods;  two  or  three  track-laying  vehicles  seemed  to  be  jockeying  for 
position  just  outside  Butzdorf.  The  battalion  waited,  watched  and 
listened.  Then  at  0300  hours,  a  patrol  from  Company  A  returned  with 
two  prisoners  who  were  readily  identified  as  members  of  the  Ghost 
Division. 

At  dawn  of  the  18th  the  storm  broke.  For  twenty  minutes  80mm, 
88mm,  105mm,  120mm  and  150mm  shells  deluged  the  towns  of  Butz- 


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dorf,  Tettingen  and  Wochern  Geysers  of  dirt  flew  up  from  the  -Streets 
as  snow, mud  and  jigged  steel  fragments  ripped  thnmgh' the  a>.r.  This 
shelling  rose  to  a  deafening  -crescendo  ind  seemed,  to  femaio  there. 
The  already  shattered  town* '  wwe  woticeJ  over  by  past  masters  at  the 
art  of  destruction.  Koof?  fdf  and  waHs  crumbled/.^  the  towns  were 
beaten  a  bit  'closer  to  the  earth. 


sioy»  Artdiery^  answer  to  the  eoeiny  barrage. 

From  the  north  and  east  came-  a  long  \im  oi  men  and  vehicles; 


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attempting  to  enter  town,  hit  the  engineers'  minefield  and  stayed  there. 
Two  half-tracks  loaded  with  Germans  tried  to  maneuver  around  the 
gun  and  were  knocked  out  by  bazooka  fire.  One  of  Lieutenant  Hodges' 
men  on  the  east  side  of  town,  disposed  of  a  self-propelled  gun  whose 
muzzle  was  thrust  into  the  window  of  his  house.  When  the  crew  of 
this  vehicle  and  their  supporting  infantry  attempted  to  dismount,  they 
were  made  prisoners  and  herded  into  a  cellar  until  things  quieted 
down.  But,  despite  the  efforts  of  the  men  of  Company  A,  the  Grena- 
diers managed  to  occupy  two  lightly  defended  houses  on  the  north 
side  of  Butzdorf . 

Meanwhile,  the  left  flank  of  the  attack  hit  Tettingen.  The  men  of 
Company  C  on  the  east  of  town  had  been  watching  the  Germans  roll 
toward  them  and  were  ready  for  the  Grenadiers  when  they  came.  Four 
half-tracks,  two  tanks  and  a  self-propelled  gun  swung  into  position 
about  one  hundred  yards  from  town.  One  of  the  half-tracks  hit  a 
mine;  its  crew  and  infantry  leaped  to  the  ground  for  cover.  Private 
Thomas  H.  Goggins  greeted  one  of  the  tanks  with  a  bazooka  round 
into  the  bogie  wheels.  This  halted  the  panzer,  but  the  bazooka-man 
was  unable  to  silence  its  gun.  Behind  the  church  the  remaining  tank 
maneuvered  into  position  and  secured  a  field  of  fire  by  blasting  a  hole 
through  the  wall  of  this  building.  Time  after  time,  bazooka  rounds 
were  fired  at  the  half-tracks  but  for  some  reason  they  failed  to  deto- 
nate. In  front  of  Lieutenant  Chalkley's  position,  the  half-tracks  pulled 
up  broadside  and  the  infantry  began  to  dismount.  Privates  James  C. 
Hobbs  and  Charles  F.  Croan  each  seized  a  machine  gun  from  its  tri- 
pod. They  went  to  work  on  the  alighting  Grenadiers,  most  of  whom 
never  managed  to  get  very  far  from  their  vehicles. 

When  the  disabled  tank  directed  its  fire  into  and  through  Lieu- 
tenant Chalkley's  platoon  command  post,  the  platoon  leader  decided 
it  was  time  to  pick  up  and  move.  Across  the  street  was  a  barn  which 
seemed  a  bit  more  habitable,  and,  at  0900  hours,  Lieutenant  Chalkley 
and  his  messenger  withdrew  to  this  position,  bringing  their  telephone 
with  them.  The  second  panzer  then  began  firing  into  the  battalion 
CP.  This  tank  also  scored  a  hit  on  one  of  Lieutenant  Peters'  prime 
movers  while  his  57s  were  going  into  position.  Immediately  afterward 
both  Lieutenant  Peters  and  his  platoon  sergeant,  Joseph  J.  Quentz  were 
wounded  by  an  88  and  had  to  be  evacuated.  Sergeant  Charles  Fox- 
grover  became  convinced  that  if  he  put  his  57  into  position  to  the 
south  of  town,  on  the  east  of  the  road,  he  might  be  able  to  knock  out 
the  tank  that  was  hammering  away  at  the  battalion  command  post. 
A  TD  man  standing  nearby  asked  the  sergeant,  "What  can  you  do 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


with  a  57?  Why  it's  suicide!"  Nevertheless,  Foxgrover  decided  to  make 
the  attempt.  His  gun  squad  ran  their  weapon  into  position  and  opened 
fire  at  three  hundred  yards.  The  tank  was  knocked  out  before  it  could 
turn  its  turret  and  bring  its  own  gun  into  firing  position.  As  the  crew 
of  the  57  struggled  to  take  their  gun  out  of  action,  a  German  mortar 
round  landed  among  them.  Most  of  the  crew  were  wounded  and  the 
trails  of  the  piece  were  jammed. 

Meanwhile,  the  attacking  Grenadiers  had  succeeded  in  taking  the 
halfway  houses  and  three  or  four  buildings  on  the  northeast  of  Tet- 
tingen.  They  secured  Lieutenant  Chalkley's  old  command  post  and 
German  machine-gun  crews  were  soon  sniping  at  all  individuals  who 
attempted  to  cross  the  main  street  in  Tettingen.  In  Butzdorf  the  tanks 
had  penetrated  to  the  center  of  town  and  were  firing  their  88s  point- 
blank  into  the  buildings  still  held  by  Company  A.  The  situation 
appeared  desperate,  but  the  company  continued  its  determined  resis- 
tance. Individual  panzers  were  buttoned  up  with  small-arms  fire;  then, 
bazookas  and  satchel  charges  were  effectively  employed. 

Private  First  Class  Richard  J.  Kamins  of  the  2d  Platoon  of  Company 
A  continues  the  account. 

I  stood  in  the  doorway  and  saw  the  first  tank  go  by  me.  I  fired  at  the  second 
and  yelled,  "I  got  the  sonuvabitch !"  Lindsay  reloaded.  The  next  tank  came 
down  the  street  toward  me.  I  hit  him  in  the  track.  He  saw  me.  I  turned  and 
ran  down  the  hall.  A  spray  of  machine-gun  bullets  chased  me,  ricocheting  from 
where  I'd  been  standing  at  the  door.  After  that  I  fired  from  a  window. 

A  fourth  came  and  a  fifth.  It  was  too  dark  to  use  my  sights  but  I  couldn't 
miss.  They  were  only  fifty  yards  away.  I  hit  them  in  the  tracks  but  still  they 
kept  coming.  I  hit  one  on  the  turret  and  the  round  bounced  off  like  a  tennis 
ball.  I  set  one  on  fire  and  he  withdrew  in  a  sheet  of  flame. 

Pop  Huston  crouched  in  a  doorway.  Some  concrete  dust  blasted  from  the 
walls  got  in  his  eyes.  Nevertheless,  old  Pop  fired  every  rifle  grenade  he  had. 
He  hit  tank  after  tank  and  watched  the  rounds  glance  off.  His  language  was 
lovely  to  hear. 

The  1st  Squad  was  across  the  street.  Jack  Zebin  and  Wylie  of  the  3d  Platoon 
were  attached  to  them  as  a  bazooka  team.  Zebin  had  a  tank  graveyard  in  front 
of  his  position.  He  got  credit  for  five.  Dick  Schweig  and  Whiz  Wicentowski 
were  to  my  left,  and  "The  Reverend"  Pillow  and  Howard  Curler  were  down 
to  my  right.  We  had  a  nice  box  formation.  One  tank  that  I'd  hit  in  the  tread 
went  down  to  be  mouse-trapped  by  Pillow.  Pillow  scared  him  back  to  me.  He 
was  in  reverse  swinging  his  gun  toward  the  1st  Squad's  building.  Simultane- 
ously, Zebin  and  I  hit  him.  My  round  tore  a  three-by-four  hole  in  the  rear 
armor.  It  was  a  long-range  shot  ...  all  of  five  yards.  The  driver  and  gunner 
lay  dead  in  the  tank.  A  third  was  hanging  out  of  the  turret  like  a  tablecloth. 
A  fourth  started  to  run.  Cross  fire  from  three  buildings  hit  him.  With  every 
burst  his  body  would  jump,  making  us  think  he  was  still  alive.  Other  bursts 
followed.  Mclntyre  came  running  up  with  a  satchel  charge  and  dropped  it  in 


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125 


the  tank.  The  explosion  was  terrific.  Later  we  examined  the  smoking  hulk. 
There  was  no  sign  of  any  bodies. 

Then  there  was  a  short  lull.  Faber,  Odell  and  Bridgeman  had  been  looking 
out  the  back  window.  They  had  seen  no  tanks,  only  artillery  landing.  Bridge- 
man  was  leaning  on  a  sink.  Then  a  close  one  dropped.  When  the  dust  cleared 
Faber  asked  where  the  sink  was.  Bridgeman  couldn't  answer  but  the  sink  had 
disappeared. 

Jim  had  the  GIs  that  day.  He  was  too  busy  to  step  to  the  gents*  room  during 
the  festivities  and  the  worst  happened.  About  seven  of  us  gathered  around  in 
a  Mayo  Clinic  circle.  Jim  dropped  his  pants.  Two  men  cut  off  his  long  drawers 
with  a  trench  knife.  It  looked  like  a  major  operation.  Messy  business. 

Shortly  after  0900  hours,  the  attack  spent  itself  and  the  Grenadiers 
withdrew  to  lick  their  wounds  and  reorganize.  The  110th  had  great 
trouble  preparing  for  another  attack  as  the  fire  of  several  battalions 
of  American  artillery  constantly  pounded  and  harassed  them.  At  1045 
hours,  elements  of  the  II  Battalion  of  the  110th  tried  to  attack  and 
were  stopped  dead  in  their  tracks  by  artillery  fire.  The  7th  Company 
was  so  badly  disorganized  by  the  Division's  105s  and  155s,  it  could 
not  be  used  all  day.  From  their  positions  in  the  woods  the  men  of 
Company  B  could  see  the  enemy  some  two  hundred  yards  north  of 
them,  across  the  clearing,  attempting  to  form  for  these  new  attacks. 
Against  them  they  directed  a  steady  and  telling  volume  of  fire. 

Once  the  first  attack  was  beaten  back,  Company  A  regained  the 
buildings  it  had  lost  while  Company  C  took  sixteen  prisoners  in  and 
around  the  halfway  house.  The  POWs  were  promptly  interrogated  as 
the  higher-level  G-2s  were  most  anxious  for  information  regarding 
the  11th  Panzer. 

At  1130  hours  the  next  attack  came  when  General  von  Wietersheim 
sent  his  2d  Tank  Company  from  the  direction  of  Sinz,  against  Tet- 
tingen  and  Butzdorf.  The  company  consisted  of  about  ten  Mark  Vs 
and  these  moved  in  a  huge  arc  on  the  two  towns.  Four  of  the  tanks 
assumed  a  hull  defilade  position  on  the  hill  east  of  Tettingen,  while 
the  others  moved  about  among  the  trees  and  haystacks  north  of  Butz- 
dorf. When  the  tankers  had  reached  the  desired  positions,  they  began 
pounding  the  towns  with  both  armor-piercing  and  high-explosive  shells. 
As  the  projectiles  came  crashing  through  the  walls  and  exploded  within 
the  buildings  of  Butzdorf,  Company  A  crawled  into  the  cellars  leaving 
one  man  in  each  building  to  watch  for  enemy  infantry  who  might 
attempt  to  advance  under  the  protective  fire  of  the  tanks. 

In  Tettingen,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  and  his  staff  racked  their 
brains  to  devise  some  method  of  relieving  the  pressure  on  Butzdorf. 
Division  artillery  continued  its  protective  fires  while  Lieutenant  Niel- 


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127 


black  smoke  and  jagged  splinters  of  steel.  Through  this  holocaust 
the  Grenadiers  continued  to  advance. 

As  the  vehicles  approached  town,  they  paused  and  the  infantry  rid- 
ing them,  jumping  off,  took  cover  behind  their  mounts.  Time  and  again 
the  Grenadiers  attempted  to  storm  Butzdorf  only  to  be  driven  back 
by  murderous  small-arms  fire.  After  each  repulse,  the  attackers  would 
re-form  behind  their  vehicles.  Tanks  roamed  up  and  down  the  streets 
of  the  little  town  at  will,  firing  through  walls,  windows  and  doors  in 
attempts  to  pulverize  the  buildings  held  by  the  defenders.  Still  the 
resistance  continued.  All  this  was  visible  from  Tettingen  where  the 
remainder  of  the  battalion  was  powerless  to  assist  Company  A. 

Private  First  Class  Richard  J.  Kamins  picks  up  the  story  again: 

We  were  lucky.  Zimny  and  Craig  had  blasted  holes  in  the  walls  of  every 
building  in  our  block.  We  could  withdraw  without  going  into  the  open.  One 
Tiger  fired  two  rounds  at  us.  The  living  room  became  unfit  to  live  in,  but  no 
one  was  hurt.  We  ran  across  the  street  to  the  platoon  CP.  Joe  DeLibero  was 
*  the  last  man  in.  A  piece  of  shrapnel  tore  his  thigh.  Two  men  dragged  him 
inside. 

Two  machine-gun  squads  set  up  in  the  barn.  "The  Reverend"  Pillow  was 
giving  the  boys  hell.  Never  have  I  seen  more  inspiring  leadership.  He  talked 
like  a  movie  hero,  only  he  meant  it.  Pillow's  loader,  Howard  Curler,  was  pretty 
comical.  His  glasses  were  broken  and  he  was  using  binoculars  in  their  stead. 
He'd  squint  in  myopic  glory  through  the  field  glasses  at  tanks  that  were  no 
more  than  150  yards  away.  To  everybody  but  Curler  their  88s  looked  like 
telephone  poles. 

Over  in  the  1st  Platoon,  Tom  Wilson  was  pretty  comical,  too.  His  squad 
leader  pointed  to  a  tank  about  fifteen  yards  away  with  its  gun  leveled  at  their 
building  and  asked,  "What  do  you  think  of  that?"  Laconically  Wilson  replied, 
"Dirty  bore." 

Then  came  an  order  for  us  to  withdraw  as  best  we  could.  Speaking  as  though 
he  were  talking  about  the  weather,  Joe  DeLibero  asked  Smith,  our  acting  pla- 
toon sergeant,  if  he  was  to  be  left  behind.  Smitty  and  Peck,  the  platoon  runner, 
were  the  last  men  to  leave  the  building.  They  had  Joe  with  them.  We  all  took 
off  like  birds. 

At  the  company  CP  a  machine  gun  was  set  up  in  each  door.  We  counted 
noses.  In  the  1st  Squad  only  one  man  was  uninjured.  Klein  was  gone, 
Walters  gone,  Derickson  gone,  Burdzy  gone.  Kovac  was  hit  in  the  thigh,  but 
continued  to  laugh  and  hobble  around.  Fite  got  a  nasty  piece  of  shrapnel  through 
his  hand.  Joe  DeLibero  lay  looking  up  at  the  ceiling.  Some  guys  stepped  on 
him;  he  didn't  say  anything. 

While  this  attack  was  in  progress,  Private  First  Class  Virgil  E.  Ham- 
ilton of  Company  D  was  bringing  transportation  corporal  Bernie  H. 
Heck  and  Corporal  Earl  N.  Vulgamore,  Company  D's  mail  clerk, 
forward  in  his  jeep.  The  three  men  had  volunteered  to  get  supplies 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


and  ammunition  into  Butzdorf.  Midway  between  the  two  towns,  they 
spotted  four  enemy  tanks  and  Hamilton  whipped  the  jeep  behind  a 
farmhouse  before  they  were  discovered  by  the  armor.  In  the  jeep  was 
a  bazooka  and  ammunition  for  it  destined  for  Company  A.  Although 
none  of  the  men  had  ever  used  the  weapon  they  decided  to  put  it  into 
action.  It  was  hastily  assembled  and  some  rockets  unpacked.  Hamilton 
shouldered  the  tube,  while  Vulgamore  and  Heck  stood  by  as  loaders. 
When  the  leading  tank  had  approached  to  within  forty  yards,  Hamil- 
ton opened  fire.  The  panzer,  hit  squarely,  burst  into  flames.  Round 
number  two,  directed  against  the  second  tank,  was  a  bit  high,  but 
it  reached  its  mark  just  as  the  astonished  tank  commander  raised  his 
hatch  to  discover  the  cause  of  the  plight  of  the  first  Panther.  Strik- 
ing the  inner  surface  of  the  hatch  the  bazooka  round  ricocheted  into 
the  tank's  interior,  accounting  for  tank  number  two.  With  an  expen- 
diture of  five  rounds,  the  third  German  tank  was  disposed  of  while 
its  astonished  crew  attempted  to  locate  their  attackers.  The  fourth  and 
last  tank  started  to  retreat  and  was  eliminated  at  a  range  of  150  yards.  • 

In  Butzdorf,  the  fighting  continued  throughout  the  afternoon.  Tech- 
nical Sergeant  William  McQuade  of  Company  D  accounted  for  a  tank 
with  one  of  the  remaining  pole  charges,  and  when  three  armored 
vehicles  converged  on  the  section  of  heavy  machine  guns  in  the  west 
of  town,  Instrument  Corporal  Earle  F.  Mousaw,  though  wounded,  kept 
the  tanks  at  bay  with  a  bazooka,  that  the  guns  might  remain  in  action. 

At  1700  hours,  when  Lieutenant  Stafford  took  stock  of  the  situation, 
it  looked  far  from  good.  He  held  some  eight  or  nine  buildings  in  the 
southern  section  of  town  while  an  unknown  number  of  the  enemy 
occupied  the  northern  tip  of  Butzdorf.  The  enemy  had  set  up  a  mortar 
in  their  part  of  town  and  German  tanks  were  roaming  the  streets.  In 
fact,  one  of  the  Panthers  was  parked  just  outside  the  window  of  the 
command  post.  Company  A  was  out  of  bazooka  ammunition  and  the 
supply  of  pole  and  satchel  charges  was  exhausted.  Of  Lieutenant 
Baker's  platoon  there  was  only  one  HMG  remaining.  Sole  method  of 
communication  was  Lieutenant  Morrison's  artillery  radio  and  this  set, 
while  it  seemed  to  be  sending,  would  not  receive.  Perhaps  messages 
were  getting  through  and  perhaps  not.  In  addition,  there  were  thirty 
wounded  in  the  command  post,  along  with  several  prisoners. 

Back  in  Tettingen,  it  was  assumed  that  at  least  a  portion  of  Company 
A  was  still  holding  out.  The  town  was  strangely  silent,  but  enemy 
tanks  were  still  patrolling  the  streets  and  there  was  occasional  firing. 

About  this  time,  word  was  received  that  the  2d  Battalion,  376th, 


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129 


would  effect  a  relief  that  night  and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Martin  ap- 
peared on  the  scene  with  Company  F  right  behind  him.  As  final  plans 
were  made  for  the  relief,  Lieutenant  Chalkley,  assisted  by  men  from 
Company  F,  was  instructed  to  clear  the  town  of  snipers.  About  1700 
hours,  two  squads,  one  under  Sergeant  Soca  and  the  other  led  by  Tech- 
nical Sergeant  Harold  B.  Price,  assaulted  the  building  previously  used 
as  a  platoon  command  post  while  two  squads  of  Company  F  attacked 
the  building  beside  it.  Sergeant  Drury  and  several  other  men  who  had 
been  wounded  and  captured  while  defending  these  buildings  were 
freed  and  eighteen  prisoners  were  taken. 

Once  the  town  was  cleared  of  snipers,  the  tank  destroyers,  urged  on 
by  their  company  commander,  scored  several  hits  on  enemy  vehicles. 
A  self-propelled  gun  parked  beside  Butzdorf  was  set  afire  and  explod- 
ing ammunition  made  a  noisy  and  dangerous  display  of  fireworks. 
Hits  also  were  scored  on  three  Panthers  as  they  attempted  to  cross  the 
antitank  ditch  east  of  town.  Two  tanks  northeast  of  Butzdorf  were 
set  on  fire  and  at  least  one  of  the  supporting  tanks  on  the  ridge  was 
damaged.  As  darkness  fell,  the  area  was  lit  by  the  glare  of  burning 
armor.  The  constant  artillery  and  mortar  fire  plus  the  noise  of  explod- 
ing ammunition  covered  the  sound  of  German  recovery  vehicles  that 
succeeded  in  towing  off  three  of  the  damaged  tanks  before  they  could 
be  burned. 

Then,  on  the  orders  of  the  CG,  Division  directed  that  Butzdorf  be 
abandoned  since  it  could  not  readily  be  resupplied  or  relieved  and  since 
it  had  served  its  purpose  of  bringing  about  great  attrition  on  the 
enemy's  infantry.  Meanwhile,  Lieutenant  Strafford  independently  ar- 
rived at  a  similar  conclusion.  Lacking  the  strength  or  the  ammunition 
to  counterattack  and  since  the  company's  position  was  indefensible, 
Lieutenant  Strafford  decided  to  withdraw  before  he  was  rushed  in  the 
dark  and  overwhelmed. 

On  his  one-way  radio  Lieutenant  Morrison  called  for  a  covering 
artillery  barrage.  The  message  got  through  and  the  919th  and  284th 
Field  Artillery  Battalions  obliged.  Men  pulled  doors  off  their  hinges 
and  loaded  the  litter  cases  on  these  while  the  walking  wounded  moved 
up  the  hill  to  Tettingen.  It  had  started  to  sleet  and  the  night  was  so 
black  visibility  was  reduced  to  a  matter  of  inches.  Platoon  leaders 
counted  their  men  by  touch.  Lieutenant  Hodges,  checking  his  platoon, 
suddenly  felt  an  odd  shaped  pack  and  an  overcoat  of  peculiar  texture. 
Pulling  the  man  out  of  line,  he  discovered  that  a  fully  armed  German 
infantryman  had  innocently  wandered  among  his  men.  The  intruder 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


was  quickly  disarmed,  informed  of  his  PW  status  and  escorted  to  the 
rear  with  the  platoon  as  it  pulled  out. 

The  1st  Battalion,  less  Company  B,  was  relieved  and  back  in  Woch- 
ern  by  2200  hours  on  the  18th;  Captain  Henry  C.  Bowden,  Jr.'s  men 
spent  the  night  in  the  woods  in  the  sleet  and  mud.  During  the  hours 
of  darkness,  a  forty-man  German  patrol  overran  one  of  the  platoon's 
positions  and  took  up  residence  in  some  of  the  company's  foxholes. 
At  dawn  the  enemy  was  driven  out  by  rifle  fire,  leaving  behind  some 
fifteen  dead.  Company  B  was  relieved  the  night  of  the  19th  and 
rejoined  the  battalion  en  route  to  the  reserve  position  at  Veckring. 

Monkey  Wrench  Woods 

On  the  18th  of  January,  the  302d  Infantry  was  relieved  from  Corps 
reserve  and  became  Division  reserve.  The  1st  Battalion,  commanded 
by  Lieutenant  Colonel  Silas  W.  Hosea,  moved  to  Perl  the  same  day 
following  receipt  of  a  warning  order  of  the  impending  relief  of  the 
376th  Infantry  by  Colonel  Johnson's  regiment.  Early  on  the  afternoon 
of  the  19th,  Company  B,  under  Captain  Altus  L.  Woods,  Jr.  moved  to 
assault  the  five  pillboxes  south  of  Nennig  which  commanded  the 
Besch-Nennig  road.  Initially  the  attack  progressed  favorably.  One 
box  was  taken  and  twelve  prisoners  had  been  captured  when  the  tank 
destroyer  that  was  providing  covering  fire  exhausted  its  ammunition 
supply.  The  attack  had  to  be  abandoned  then,  as  the  supply  of  demo- 
litions also  proved  insufficient  and  an  attempt  at  resupply  was  futile. 

On  the  20th  another  attack  was  launched  at  this  group  of  pillboxes 
for  Division  was  very  much  concerned  over  the  matter.  A  counter- 
attack in  strength  against  Nennig  seemed  likely  and  these  enemy  forti- 
fications effectively  prevented  traffic  over  the  only  existing  supply  road. 
In  this  second  attempt,  the  assault  detachment  was  composed  of  Com- 
panies A  and  B,  an  improvised  section  of  .50-caliber  machine  guns, 
two  platoons  from  Company  B  of  the  319th  Engineers  and  a  section 
of  TDs  from  the  607th  Tank  Destroyer  Battalion.  To  assure  an  ade- 
quate supply  of  ammunition,  two  platoons  of  Company  A  were 
employed  as  carrying  parties.  The  remaining  rifle  platoon  of  Company 
A  protected  the  right  flank  of  the  group. 

At  0912  hours  the  attack  jumped  off  with  two  of  the  pillboxes  being 
assaulted  while  the  others  were  buttoned  up  by  fire  from  the  support- 
ing weapons.  Enemy  mortar  and  artillery  fire  on  the  attackers  was 
intense.  As  the  Germans  were  driven  out  of  these  first  boxes  by  the 
engineers'  flame  throwers,  they  were  questioned  on  the  spot  by  Private 
First  Class  Morris  H.  Wasscrman  of  the  Battalion  Intelligence  Section. 


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131 


These  interrogations  revealed  the  location  of  several  enemy  artillery  em- 
placements south  of  Thorn.  Counterbattery  fire  was  requested  at  once. 

As  soon  as  the  first  two  boxes  were  taken,  the  carrying  parties  began 
to  load  them  with  demolitions.  Lieutenant  Roger  L.  Guernsey's 
machine-gun  platoon  was  brought  forward  to  give  overhead  support  as 
the  attack  continued.  Enemy  artillery  fire  continued  heavy  and  inflicted 
most  of  the  casualties  suffered.  At  1405  hours  the  last  of  the  pillboxes 
was  taken;  the  PW  total  for  the  operation  came  to  108. 

With  the  reduction  of  the  last  of  these  boxes,  the  carrying  parties 
went  to  work  in  earnest.  Despite  heavy  artillery  fire  the  captured  forti- 
fications were  loaded  with  explosives  and  turned  over  to  the  engineers 
for  demolition.  As  each  in  turn  was  blown,  a  deafening  explosion 
rent  the  air  and  a  huge  cloud  of  black  smoke  arose  as  the  roof  of  a 
pillbox  puffed  up  and  walls  eight  feet  thick  crumbled  into  rubble. 

South  of  these  pillboxes,  the  woods  as  shown  on  a  map  resembles 
the  head  of  a  huge  monkey  wrench  with  open  jaws.  This  fact,  coupled 
with  the  absence  of  any  known  name,  soon  brought  the  nickname, 
Monkey  Wrench  Woods,  into  common  use.  While  the  engineers  were 
busy  blowing  the  pillboxes,  Company  A,  commanded  by  Captain 
Robert  L.  Woodburn,  cleared  the  upper  jaw  of  the  Monkey  Wrench 
while  Company  B  tackled  the  lower.  Having  completed  these  tasks 
they  pulled  back  to  Besch  in  compliance  with  instructions  of  battalion. 

On  the  morning  of  January  21,  1945,  Company  B  returned  to  the 
woods  to  take  up  positions.  As  it  approached  the  northwest  edge  of 
the  forest,  the  troops  were  met  by  a  hail  of  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire. 
During  the  night,  the  enemy  had  infiltrated  the  position  and  set  up 
automatic  weapons  among  the  massive  ruins  of  the  pillboxes.  This 
fire  was  intense  and  sustained,  causing  heavy  casualties.  So  badly  was 
the  company  cut  up,  it  became  necessary  to  withdraw  it  to  the  vicinity 
of  Besch.  Company  A  then  moved  forward  and  seized  positions  in  the 
southwest  corner  of  the  upper  jaw.  Contact  was  established  with  Com- 
pany C  to  the  east  by  patrol  but  that  night  both  flanks  of  Company 
A  were  exposed  to  possible  enemy  thrusts. 

The  following  morning,  Company  B  moved  forward  to  Company 
A's  positions  and  the  latter  company  jumped  off  behind  an  artillery 
concentration  to  clear  the  upper  jaw.  When  this  was  done,  Company 
A  assumed  a  defensive  position  along  the  northern  edge  of  the  woods. 
Company  B,  in  the  southwest  corner  of  the  Monkey  Wrench  Woods, 
received  heavy  shelling  all  during  the  night  of  January  22-23.  Morning 
disclosed  that  the  German  machine  guns  had  withdrawn  from  the  pill- 
box ruins.  That  night  Company  A  moved  forward  to  the  antitank  ditch. 


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Chapter  16:  ORSHOLZ 

THE  INTRODUCTION  of  the  11th  Panzer  Division  had  pro- 
duced a  fierce  battle  along  the  western  flank  of  the  Siegfried 
Switch  Line.  However,  the  rest  of  the  German  defense  position, 
from  Borg  east  to  the  Saar,  remained  relatively  quiet.  Against  this 
quiet  sector  Division  planned  to  launch  the  next  limited  objective 
attack,  and  the  301st  Infantry  prepared  to  seize  Orsholz. 

General  Malony's  over-all  plan  for  the  reduction  of  the  Switch 
position  called  for  a  double  envelopment.  Capture  of  the  Nennig- 
Tettingen  area  had  penetrated  the  right  flank  of  the  German  line, 
anchored  on  the  Moselle.  The  capture  of  Orsholz  would  unhinge  the 
enemy's  left,  anchored  on  the  Saar.  Once  this  second  breach  was  made, 
further  attacks  could  be  launched  until  the  claws  of  the  pincer  met 
on  Munzingen  ridge.  This  action  would  completely  surround  the  center 
of  the  German  defense  line,  which  could  be  reduced  at  leisure.  Also, 
the  Triangle  itself  would  then  be  completely  exposed  and  Trier  would 
be  within  reach. 

Orsholz  was  situated  on  a  hill  some  four  hundred  feet  high  and 
was  surrounded  by  massive  pillboxes  set  in  an  arc  roughly  a  quarter 
of  a  mile  in  front  of  the  town.  A  hairpin  turn  in  the  Saar,  a  thousand 
yards  to  the  east,  brought  the  river  practically  to  the  door  of  the  town. 
Terrain  in  this  vicinity  was  wild,  broken  and  heavily  wooded.  At  the 
river,  it  fell  off  sharply  in  steep,  rocky  cliffs.  This  double  line  of  river 
front  and  the  proximity  of  a  town  on  dominant  and  easily  defensible 
terrain  made  the  location  an  ideal  one  for  the  eastern  terminus  of  the 
Switch  Line. 

South  and  east  of  Orsholz  the  ground  was  open  and  sloped  gradually 
from  the  north;  these  naked  slopes  gave  perfect  fields  of  fire  to  the 
numerous  pillboxes  the  enemy  had  erected.  The  only  cover  to  the 
front  of  the  German  positions  in  which  an  attacker  might  conceal 
direct-support  weapons  was  too  far  distant  for  accurate  fire  to  be 
delivered  against  the  German  fortifications.  The  terrain  offered  only 
one  likely  avenue  of  approach.  Between  Oberleuken  and  Orsholz  was 
the  Foret  de  Saarburg,  a  heavily  wooded  area  which  extended  from  the 
American  to  the  German  lines  and  then  turned  eastward  to  the  out- 
skirts of  Orsholz.  These  woods  made  an  ideal  approach  to  the  town. 
However,  they  favored  the  defense  as  well  as  the  attack  and  the  Ger- 
mans had  not  neglected  to  improve  the  position. 

Prior  to  the  decision  to  reduce  Orsholz,  American  patrols  had  not 
penetrated  deeply  into  these  woods.  But,  with  this  decision,  the  1st 
Battalion  and  the  I&R  Platoon  of  the  301st  sent  reconnaissance  parties 
to  comb  the  Foret  de  Saarburg,  searching  for  enemy  positions  and  the 

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most  favorable  avenues  of  approach.  A  few  small  fire  fights  were 
stirred  up,  but  for  the  most  part  the  patrols  sighted  no  enemy.  Several 
times  reconnaissance  parties  advanced  to  the  antitank  ditch  in  front  of 
the  Orsholz-Oberleuken  road  without  being  detected.  To  lull  the  sus- 
picions of  the  enemy,  no  patrols  were  sent  beyond  this  ditch  until  two 
days  prior  to  the  attack.  Then,  a  small  carefully  selected  group  was 
dispatched  with  instructions  to  proceed  through  the  woods,  to  the  rear 
of  Orsholz,  to  determine  the  approximate  strength  of  the  enemy  gar- 
rison. This  patrol  slipped  into  the  deep  forest  and  was  never  again 
seen. 

When  the  1st  Battalion  301st  was  chosen  as  the  attacking  battalion 
for  the  94th's  third  limited-objective  operation,  the  troops  comman- 
deered sheets,  curtains  and  tablecloths  and  fashioned  them  into  crude 
snow-suits.  They  constructed  pole  and  satchel  charges,  and  the  engi- 
neers made  available  mines  and  flame  throwers. 

On  January  19,  1945,  elements  of  the  3d  Cavalry  Group  relieved  the 
3d  Battalion  301st  which  shifted  to  the  left,  in  turn  relieving  the  1st 
Battalion.  At  the  same  time,  the  2d  Battalion  made  ready  to  protect 
the  left  flank  of  the  regiment.  The  301st  Field  Artillery  was  to  provide 
the  main  fire  support  for  the  operation  and  Company  A  of  the  319th 
Engineers  checked  the  trails  through  the  woods  for  mines. 

The  night  of  the  19th,  the  weather  was  bitter  cold  and  snow, 
already  a  foot  deep  on  the  ground,  was  descending  so  thickly  it  was 
hard  to  distinguish  familiar  landmarks.  At  2400  hours,  the  1st  Battal- 
ion left  Ober-Tiinsdorf  and  began  its  march  through  the  woods.  Com- 
pany B,  commanded  by  Captain  Herman  C.  Straub,  moved  out  first 
with  Technical  Sergeant  Ernest  W.  Halle  of  the  I&R  Platoon  acting 
as  guide.  Captain  Charles  B.  Colgan  and  Company  A  followed  closely 
while  Captain  Cleo  B.  Smith's  Company  C,  which  had  been  designated 
as  the  battalion  reserve,  brought  up  the  rear  of  the  column.  Lieutenant 
Colonel  George  F.  Miller  and  his  battalion  command  group  followed 
the  rear  of  Company  A.  The  1st  Platoon  of  Company  D,  commanded 
by  Lieutenant  Robert  W.  Jonscher,  was  attached  to  Captain  Straub's 
company  while  the  2d  Platoon  came  under  Company  A's  control. 
Captain  Gilbert  S.  Woodrill  and  the  mortar  platoon  of  the  battalion 
followed  the  battalion  command  group. 

The  4,000-yard  march  to  the  line  of  departure  proved  an  exhausting 
grind.  Though  the  cold  was  intense,  the  men  were  so  loaded  with 
equipment  and  extra  ammunition  they  were  soon  perspiring.  Frequent 
rest  halts  were  made  en  route  and  battalion  communications  personnel 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


laid  wire  as  the  column  advanced.  At  each  halt,  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Miller  called  the  regimental  command  post  to  report  personally  to 
Colonel  Hagerty. 

By  0330  hours,  Sergeant  Halle  and  the  head  of  the  column  reached 
the  forward  assembly  area,  a  few  hundred  yards  from  the  line  of  depar- 
ture. H-hour  had  been  set  for  0600  hours.  Patrols  and  listening  posts 
were  sent  out  to  protect  the  forward  assembly  area  and  Captains  Straub 
and  Colgan  made  their  way  through  the  snow  for  a  last-minute  recon- 
naissance. 

The  line  of  departure  was  a  small  stream  named  Merl  Branch  which 
lay  just  beyond  a  series  of  dragon's  teeth.  Still  farther  beyond  was  a 
small  group  of  buildings  thought  to  be  camouflaged  pillboxes.  Com- 
pany A  had  formed  a  special  assault  squad  which  was  to  precede  the 
company  and  eliminate  any  resistance  that  might  develop  from  this 
quarter.  At  the  point  where  the  Orsholz-Oberleuken  road  crossed  Merl 
Branch,  the  dragon's  teeth  gave  way  to  an  antitank  ditch  which  ran 
through  the  woods  to  the  east,  on  the  south  side  of  the  road.  However, 
in  the  blinding  snowstorm  little  of  this  terrain  was  visible  to  the  com- 
pany commanders.  In  fact,  they  could  barely  see  the  dragon's  teeth 
to  their  front. 

At  0500  hours  the  assault  companies  left  the  assembly  area  and 
moved  into  position  in  rear  of  the  line  of  departure.  The  heavy  snow- 
fall and  the  density  of  the  woods  caused  them  to  lose  contact  with  each 
other  and  because  of  this  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miller  delayed  the  attack. 
Before  contact  was  reestablished,  it  was  0725  hours.  The  attack  then 
began;  no  artillery  preparation  was  employed. 

As  the  right  of  Company  A  slipped  out  of  the  woods  and  into  the 
band  of  dragon's  teeth,  the  stillness  was  broken  by  a  series  of  loud 
explosions.  Screaming  in  agony  men  fell  among  the  concrete  obstacles. 
Hidden  beneath  the  thick  carpet  of  snow  was  a  field  of  Schii  mines, 
S  mines,  and  a  tangle  of  barbed  wire.  Attempts  to  veer  to  the  right 
and  left  only  gave  testimony  to  the  extent  and  density  of  the  minefield, 
though  some  few  men  were  lucky  enough  to  pass  through  the  dragon's 
teeth  unscathed. 

On  the  left,  Company  B  along  with  Captain  Colgan's  two  left  pla- 
toons, Lieutenant  Jonscher's  machine-gun  platoon,  a  detachment  from 
the  regimental  Mine  Platoon,  and  a  Cannon  Company  forward  obser- 
ver group,  having  encountered  no  mines,  moved  forward  rapidly. 
Without  opposition,  they  gained  the  Oberleuken-Orsholz  road.  Turn- 
ing right,  this  group  headed  for  the  battalion  objective,  straight  down 
the  highway  leading  into  Orsholz  from  the  west.  As  these  elements 


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135 


of  the  1st  Battalion  swept  forward,  the  advance  guard  overran  some 
enemy  machine-gun  positions,  killing  several  Germans  and  taking  a 
few  prisoners.  Confident  that  the  rest  of  the  battalion  would  break 
through,  Captain  Straub  continued  his  advance.  Thus  the  company 
and  its  accompanying  elements  swept  silently  to  the  edge  of  the  woods 
west  of  Orsholz  without  alerting  the  enemy  garrison.  There  they 
awaited  the  arrival  of  the  rest  of  the  battalion  that  a  coordinated 
attack  might  be  launched  against  the  town. 

Still  at  the  line  of  departure,  the  remainder  of  the  battalion  gave 
way  to  the  left  to  use  Company  B's  route  through  the  dragon's  teeth. 
When  the  leading  elements  of  this  group  had  passed  through  the 
tank  obstacle  and  were  about  half  way  across  the  open  ground  in  the 
bottom  of  the  draw  beyond,  German  machine  guns  opened  fire  from 
the  north.  Instantly  the  attacking  force  was  caught  in  a  withering  fire 
pattern.  The  1st  Platoon  of  Company  A,  bringing  up  the  rear  of  the 
assault  and  about  to  move  into  the  open,  set  up  a  base  of  fire  from 
the  edge  of  the  woods  which  succeeded  in  sufficiently  reducing  the 
volume  of  enemy  fire  to  allow  the  other  platoons  to  withdraw.  All 
hope  of  surprise  was  now  gone.  The  enemy  could  not  be  seen  but  the 
shout  of  orders  in  German  was  clearly  audible  and  the  sound  of  move- 
ment could  be  heard  in  hidden  communication  trenches  somewhere  to 
the  front. 

The  enemy  had  accomplished  a  superior  job  of  camouflage  in  this 
area.  He  had  built  pillboxes,  bunkers  and  communication  trenches  in 
the  forest  and  then  had  felled  trees  to  form  a  massive  network  of 
criss-crossing  logs  above  and  around  them.  Through  this  tangle,  fields 
of  fire  had  been  cut  carefully.  It  was  almost  impossible  to  detect  a 
German  position  unless  one  was  in  its  immediate  vicinity  when  fire  was 
delivered. 

The  301st  Field  Artillery  was  called  upon  to  blast  a  hole  for  the 
infantry  and  a  heavy  barrage  was  laid.  Following  this,  Company  A 
again  attempted  to  advance.  The  troops  worked  their  way  to  the  middle 
of  the  draw  and  there  they  were  again  stopped  by  murderous  fire  from 
skillfully  concealed  enemy  machine-gun  positions.  All  the  fire  power 
the  battalion  could  bring  to  bear  was  not  sufficient  to  silence  these 
weapons.  Captain  Colgan's  men  could  neither  advance  nor  withdraw  as 
the  slightest  movement  brought  a  hail  of  enemy  lead  that  swept  the 
area,  chewing  up  the  snow.  German  artillery  also  began  to  fall  among 
the  troops,  adding  greatly  to  the  carnage. 

With  this  development,  the  battalion  commander  came  forward  to 
pull  together  the  remnants  of  his  command  and  attempt  to  discover 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


some  means  of  breaking  through  to  Company  B.  Just  then,  the  Ger- 
man artillery  increased  its  range  slightly  to  saturate  the  edge  of  the 
woods  used  as  the  line  of  departure  with  fire.  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Miller  was  caught  in  a  concentration  and  killed  almost  immediately. 
A  short  time  later,  within  ten  yards  of  where  the  battalion  commander 
fell,  Lieutenant  Adrian  B.  DePutron  was  killed  by  bursts  of  enemy 
machine-gun  fire. 

Major  Arthur  W.  Hodges,  the  battalion  executive  officer,  immedi- 
ately assumed  command  of  the  disorganized  battalion.  He  withdrew 
what  remained  of  the  outfit  deeper  into  the  woods  and  began  prepara- 
tions for  a  new  attack.  In  conjunction  with  these  preparations,  Com- 
pany I  was  attached  to  the  1st  Battalion  at  1000  hours  and  moved  into 
the  Foret  de  Saarburg.  A  new  attack  was  launched  at  1500  hours, 
preceded  by  a  heavy  artillery  concentration.  The  assault  units  made 
progress  until  again  they  encountered  antipersonnel  mines.  As  the 
artillery  support  lifted,  the  Germans  laid  their  final  protective  line 
fires.  Hidden  machine  guns  raked  the  rifle  platoons  and  casualties 
began  to  mount.  The  troops  were  finally  withdrawn. 

During  the  afternoon,  the  regimental  commander  appointed  his 
executive  officer,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Donald  C.  Hardin,  who  had 
formerly  commanded  the  1st  Battalion,  as  temporary  battalion  com- 
mander. A  second  time,  deeper  within  the  wood,  the  command  was 
reorganized  and  it  was  decided  to  launch  the  next  attempt  several 
hundred  yards  farther  to  the  left,  in  an  effort  to  avoid  the  German 
minefields.  At  1755  hours,  just  before  darkness  fell,  the  final  attack 
jumped  off.  The  story  repeated  itself:  mines,  booby  traps,  final-protec- 
tive-line fire  and  accurate  enemy  artillery.  The  battalion  could  not 
break  through  to  Company  B. 

On  the  morning  of  the  20th  with  the  beginning  of  the  first  attack 
against  Orsholz,  the  2d  Battalion,  301st,  on  the  left  of  the  regiment, 
had  swung  its  right  flank  north,  through  the  woods,  in  the  direction 
of  the  attack.  This  action  prevented  the  enemy  from  sending  any  forces 
from  Oberleuken  to  counterattack  the  1st  Battalion.  Company  A  of 
the  748th  Tank  Battalion  had  also  moved  forward  into  the  woods  and 
was  prepared  to  assist  in  the  assault  on  Orsholz,  as  soon  as  the  antitank 
ditch  could  be  cleared  and  bridged.  Unfortunately  this  was  never 
accomplished. 

As  the  20th  progressed  and  the  rest  of  the  battalion  failed  to  come 
abreast,  Captain  Straub  and  his  men  began  to  receive  a  good  deal  of 
attention  from  the  enemy.  Company  B  and  those  elements  of  Com- 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


On  the  21st,  after  a  conference  with  Lieutenant  Colonel  Samuel  L. 
Morrow  of  the  301st  Field  Artillery,  it  was  decided  to  smoke  the  area 
between  Orsholz  and  the  Foret  de  Saarburg  in  an  attempt  to  cover  the 
withdrawal  of  Company  B.  Captain  Straub's  radio  was  still  in  con- 
tact with  the  battalion's  forward  observation  posts  and  Colonel  Hagerty 
came  forward  personally  to  brief  Company  B  on  this  plan. 

When  radio  contact  was  established,  Captain  Straub  informed  the 
regimental  commander  the  plan  could  not  be  executed.  Company  B 
had  almost  exhausted  its  ammunition,  the  men  were  exhausted  and 
freezing  to  death.  Moreover,  the  area  through  which  they  would  have 
to  withdraw  was  heavily  mined  and  their  exact  location  was  known 
to  the  enemy.  For  the  sake  of  his  remaining  men,  Captain  Straub 
decided  to  surrender. 

During  the  early  afternoon,  the  remnants  of  the  1st  Battalion  with- 
drew from  the  woods.  Under  the  cover  of  smoke,  as  many  as  possible 
of  the  wounded  and  dead  were  evacuated.  The  2d  Battalion  covered 
the  withdrawal  and  the  original  lines  were  resumed.  To  reorganize 
and  recuperate,  the  shattered  1st  Battalion  was  placed  in  reserve.  Major 
Hodges  was  made  battalion  commander  and  Major  William  E. 
McBride  was  assigned  to  the  battalion  as  executive  officer.  Upon  the 
recommendation  of  the  Division  Commander,  Lieutenant  Joseph  E. 
Cancilla  was  appointed  company  commander  of  Company  B  and 
charged  with  the  responsibility  of  constructing  and  training  a  new 
company. 

Higher  headquarters  decided  to  make  no  further  attempt  at  taking 
Orsholz  for  the  present.  Later,  when  the  Division  was  freed  of  its  one 
battalion  restriction,  the  score  would  be  settled. 


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Chapter  17:  THE  302D  MOVES  UP 


IEUTENANT  COLONEL  OTTO  B.  CLOUDT,  Jr.,  commanding 


the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  received  orders  on  January  19,  1945  to 


II  A  relieve  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  in  the  Nennig-Wies-Berg  area. 
The  battalion  commander,  accompanied  by  Captain  James  E.  Cook, 
Battalion  S-3;  Lieutenant  Harold  C.  Nelson,  Battalion  S-2;  the  com- 
pany commanders  of  the  battalion  and  all  the  platoon  leaders,  pro- 
ceeded to  Nennig  on  reconnaissance.  The  party  moved  by  jeep  to  a 
point  midway  between  Besch  and  Nennig  before  dismounting.  From 
there,  they  walked  and  crawled  the  remaining  distance  into  town.  As 
they  approached  the  railroad,  several  mortar  rounds  and  some  machine- 
gun  fire  was  directed  at  them.  No  casualties  resulted  as  they  were  well 
dispersed. 

At  the  command  post  of  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  the  party  was 
oriented  on  the  situation  and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt  gave  the  vari- 
ous company  commanders  their  assignments.  Company  I,  commanded 
by  Captain  Allan  R.  Williams,  was  to  move  into  Wies  and  Berg. 
Company  K,  under  Lieutenant  Carl  W.  Seeby,  would  take  over  the 
defense  of  Nennig.  The  1st  Platoon  of  Company  L,  under  command 
of  Lieutenant  John  R.  Travers,  was  attached  to  Company  K  and  was 
to  relieve  Lieutenant  Fox  in  the  orchard.  Captain  John  N.  Smith  of 
Company  L  was  directed  to  deploy  the  remainder  of  his  unit  between 
the  orchard  and  Tettingen,  a  distance  of  more  than  fifteen  hundred 
yards.  As  usual,  Captain  Francis  M.  Hurst's  heavy  weapons  company 
was  divided.  The  mortar  platoon,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Douglas 
I.  Smith,  was  to  provide  support  from  the  commanding  ground  on  the 
Luxembourg  side  of  the  river  while  one  machine-gun  platoon  sup- 
ported Company  I  and  the  other  Company  K. 

Late  in  the  afternoon,  the  battalion  executive  officer,  Major  Earl 
L.  Meyers,  moved  the  battalion  from  Sierck  to  the  woods  north  of 
Perl.  At  dark,  Major  Meyers  directed  Lieutenant  Robert  A.  Edwards, 
Company  I's  executive  officer,  to  lead  Companies  I,  K  and  the  1st 
Platoon  of  Company  L  into  Besch.  There  they  were  met  by  a  guide 
from  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston's  battalion,  who  conducted  them 
into  the  Nennig  area.  At  the  railroad  tracks  west  of  town,  the  com- 
manders met  their  units  and  led  them  into  position.  It  was  a  cold, 
clear  night  and  the  relief  was  completed  without  incident  or  inter- 
ruption. 

Company  I  was  in  position  prior  to  midnight.  Captain  Williams' 
unit,  less  the  2d  Platoon,  moved  into  Wies  while  Lieutenant  William 
J.  Doherty  and  his  men  took  over  Berg.  The  company  commander 
kept  one  section  of  heavy  machine  guns  with  him  and  sent  the  other 


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two  guns  with  the  2d  Platoon.  In  Berg,  Lieutenant  Doherty  put  two 
of  his  squads  and  the  section  of  HMGs  in  Schloss  Berg  and  the  remain- 
ing riflemen  in  a  house  overlooking  the  draw  east  of  town.  After  the 
completion  of  the  relief,  Lieutenant  Peter  Somfeld  led  a  carrying  party 
back  to  Nennig  while  the  remainder  of  the  company  improved  its 
defensive  positions.  To  the  north  of  Wies  the  Germans  still  held 
Schloss  Bubingen. 

In  Nennig,  Lieutenant  Seeby  used  the  1st  and  part  of  the  2d  Pla- 
toons to  defend  the  town  itself  while  the  3d  Platoon,  under  Technical 
Sergeant  Frank  A.  O'Hara,  took  positions  in  the  communication 
trenches  at  the  edge  of  the  woods,  on  the  ridge  overlooking  Nennig. 
Also  on  the  ridge  was  the  heavy  machine-gun  platoon  attached  to  the 
company  and  a  forward  observer  from  the  356th  Field  Artillery. 

The  1st  Platoon  of  Company  L  moved  into  position  with  elements 
of  Company  K  and  the  2d  Squad  of  Lieutenant  Travers'  platoon  was 
employed  to  reinforce  the  right  of  Sergeant  O'Hara's  position.  It  took 
over  the  communication  trenches  in  the  woods  east  of  the  platoon  of 
Company  K.  The  remainder  of  Lieutenant  Travers'  platoon  continued 
eastward,  through  the  woods  to  the  orchard.  There  they  slipped  into 
the  open  emplacements  and  foxholes  as  Lieutenant  Fox  and  his  men 
moved  off  into  the  darkness,  carrying  their  dead  with  them. 

At  the  same  time  the  rest  of  Company  L  moved  west  from  Tettingen 
to  assume  positions  along  its  vastly  extended  front.  The  3d  Platoon, 
commanded  by  Technical  Sergeant  Chester  E.  Markowski,  was  em- 
ployed north  of  the  Nennig-Tettingen  road,  off  to  the  right  of  Lieu- 
tenant Travers'  men;  Technical  Sergeant  John  Karl's  2d  Platoon  held 
the  right  of  the  company  line  between  Tettingen  and  the  3d  Platoon, 
in  a  series  of  communication  trenches  south  of  the  road;  the  Weapons 
Platoon  was  divided  between  the  2d  and  3d  Platoons. 

Prior  to  the  completion  of  the  relief  at  midnight  on  the  19th,  Cap- 
tain Bowden  of  Company  B,  376th,  asked  Captain  Smith  how  long 
he  expected  to  remain  on  the  ridge.  Captain  Smith  replied,  "About 
seven  days."  The  CO  of  Company  B  then  commented,  "Somebody 
may  be  up  here  seven  days  from  now,  but  it  won't  be  you." 

In  the  orchard  Lieutenant  Travers'  men  made  contact  with  the  enemy 
before  dawn.  At  about  0400  hours,  a  three-man  patrol  approached 
from  the  direction  of  Nennig.  Because  of  the  fog  and  the  darkness, 
visibility  among  the  trees  was  greatly  reduced  and  the  leading  German 
was  within  five  feet  of  the  nearest  foxhole  before  he  was  identified 
and  shot.  The  two  remaining  members  of  the  hostile  patrol  broke  into 
a  run,  but  were  brought  down  by  rifle  fire.  Two  hours  later  a  forty- 


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141 


man  German  patrol  approached  the  position  in  a  column  of  twos. 
When  within  fifty  yards  of  the  1st  Platoon,  they  stopped  for  a  break. 
The  men  in  the  orchard  opened  fire,  killing  or  wounding  half  the 
group  on  the  initial  volley;  the  survivors  scattered. 

Sergeant  O'Hara's  platoon  and  the  squad  of  Company  L  on  its  right 
were  fiercely  attacked  soon  after  assuming  their  positions.  Under  this 
pressure  they  withdrew  to  Nennig  where  Lieutenant  Seeby  ordered 
them  back  to  the  ridge,  on  the  right  of  Lieutenant  Henry  J.  Fink's  2d 
Platoon  which  occupied  the  east  of  town.  When  a  patrol  went  out 
to  determine  whether  or  not  the  Germans  had  occupied  the  1st  Pla- 
toon's positions  it  was  driven  back  by  enemy  fire.  Throughout  the 
remainder  of  the  night  small  groups  of  Germans  came  to  the  ridge 
positions  where  they  were  cut  down  by  rifle  and  automatic  fire. 

Meanwhile,  there  was  a  good  deal  of  enemy  activity  around  Lieu- 
tenant T  ravers'  position  in  the  orchard  and  enemy  troop  movements 
in  the  woods  to  the  north  increased.  During  the  course  of  the  morning 
it  became  apparent  that  the  platoon  was  gradually  being  surrounded. 

To  the  right  of  the  men  in  the  orchard,  the  rest  of  Company  L  was 
also  encountering  trouble.  As  a  security  measure,  Captain  Smith  had 
posted  four  men  on  either  side  of  the  wooden  bunker  he  was  using 
for  a  command  post.  Just  at  dawn,  two  shots  rang  out  and  First 
Sergeant  John  J.  Stracelsky,  who  was  standing  in  the  doorway,  fell 
mortally  wounded.  Fearing  the  command  group  would  be  trapped  in 
the  bunker,  Captain  Smith  ordered  it  evacuated  before  the  light  im- 
proved or  the  sniper  was  reinforced.  One  by  one,  the  men  dashed 
from  the  shelter  for  the  trench  where  the  60mm  mortars  were  emplaced. 

After  daylight,  a  heavy  artillery  concentration  ushered  in  an  enemy 
attack  which  thrust  between  Sergeant  Markowski's  platoon  on  the  left 
and  Sergeant  Karl's  men  on  the  right.  This  attack  which  hit  the  left 
of  the  2d  Platoon,  drove  Sergeant  Karl's  men  back  to  the  firing  trench 
in  the  rear  of  their  position.  The  3d  Platoon  held  fast,  but  the  with- 
drawal of  the  2d  on  its  right  meant  that  both  flanks  were  exposed  and 
they  too  were  in  danger  of  being  surrounded.  Lieutenant  William 
Burke,  forward  observer  from  the  356th  Field  Artillery,  had  joined 
Company  L  during  the  night  and  was  in  position  with  the  3d  Platoon 
when  it  was  attacked.  For  fire  support  Lieutenant  Burke  contacted  fire 
direction  center  via  an  SCR-300  radio  borrowed  from  Captain  Smith. 
This  radio  was  in  contact  with  the  2d  Battalion  CP  in  Wochern  where 
his  fire  missions  were  relayed  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  Harold  S.  Whitely's 
356th  Field  Artillery.  Captain  Smith  himself  had  to  rely  on  runners 


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for  communication  with  Wochern.  From  there  contact  with  3d 
Battalion  Headquarters  in  Besch  was  made  by  telephone. 

In  an  effort  to  cover  Sergeant  Markowski's  exposed  right  flank,  Cap- 
tain Smith  ordered  the  2d  Platoon  to  attack  immediately  to  regain  their 
old  positions.  This  was  attempted  but  heavy  rifle,  machine-gun  and 
Schtneisser  fire  was  encountered  and  the  understrength  platoon  was 
forced  back  to  the  cover  of  the  communication  trench.  Later  five  men 
who  had  been  on  the  flank  of  the  3d  Platoon  worked  their  way  back 
and  joined  forces  with  the  2d.  They  reported  killing  about  twenty-five 
Germans  before  they  ran  out  of  ammunition  but  knew  nothing  of  the 
fate  of  the  rest  of  their  unit. 

Captain  Smith  next  sent  a  messenger  to  Wochern  to  report  the  situa- 
tion, request  reinforcements  and  to  bring  forward  another  radio.  This 
messenger  returned  shortly,  accompanied  by  a  patrol  from  Company  F, 
led  by  Lieutenant  Joe  D.  Alvarado,  whose  mission  was  to  contact  the 
1st  Battalion  troops  working  on  the  pillboxes  south  of  the  Nennig- 
Tettingen  road.  Later  Lieutenant  Anthony  Cerboskas  of  Company  L 
was  sent  into  Wochern  to  emphasize  the  gravity  of  the  situation. 
Capain  Smith  had  under  his  command  only  forty  men.  He  was  receiv- 
ing heavy  rocket  and  artillery  fire  all  along  his  front  and  feared  he 
would  be  overwhelmed  momentarily. 

As  the  afternoon  wore  on,  the  sound  of  firing  to  the  flanks  of  Lieu- 
tenant Travers'  position  in  the  orchard  became  more  and  more  remote. 
It  was  obvious  that  the  fighting  had  by-passed  the  orchard  and  that 
the  enemy  was  in  their  rear.  There  was  no  radio  with  the  platoon,  so 
if  battalion  was  to  be  informed  that  the  position  had  not  been  over- 
whelmed, someone  would  have  to  work  through  the  enemy  forces  and 
report  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt.  Lieutenant  Travers,  accompanied 
by  two  volunteers,  left  on  this  dangerous  mission. 

Since  his  destination  was  Besch  and  his  desire  was  to  get  there  as 
quickly  as  possible,  the  platoon  leader  headed  his  party  south.  By 
stealthy  maneuvering  the  group  managed  to  avoid  the  enemy  mine- 
fields and  evade  interception.  Upon  reaching  the  Nennig-Tettingen 
road  the  patrol  was  greatly  surprised  to  encounter  the  Regimental 
Executive  Officer,  Lieutenant  Colonel  John  W.  Gaddis,  at  the  northern 
edge  of  Monkey  Wrench  Woods.  When  informed  of  the  situation, 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Gaddis  had  Lieutenant  Travers  and  his  men  accom- 
pany him  to  the  battalion  CP  in  Besch  and  then  to  the  regimental  com- 
mand post  in  Perl.  At  both  places  Lieutenant  Travers  repeated  his 
story.  But,  with  the  whole  of  the  regimental  front  under  attack  and 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


a  gap  in  the  center  of  the  line,  there  were  no  reserves  available  to 
rescue  the  isolated  group. 

On  the  afternoon  of  January  19,  1945,  while  Colonel  Cloudt  and 
his  party  were  on  reconnaissance  in  the  Nennig  area,  the  2d  Battalion, 
302d  Infantry,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Colonel  Frank  P.  Norman, 
moved  into  Wochern  and  began  the  relief  of  the  1st  Battalion,  376th. 
Company  E,  under  Captain  James  W.  Butler  set  up  in  Borg;  Company 
G,  commanded  by  Captain  James  W.  Griffin,  took  over  Tettingen;  and 
Company  F,  commanded  by  Captain  Herman  Kops,  Jr.  was  designated 
battalion  reserve.  The  latter  company  was  divided  between  Wochern 
and  Der  Heidlich.  Captain  Orville  M.  Owings  of  Company  H  sent 
one  machine-gun  platoon  to  Wochern  and  the  other  to  Borg,  while 
the  81mm  mortars  assumed  positions  in  the  cemetery  west  of  Wochern. 
The  following  day  at  approximately  2000  hours,  Company  G  in  Tet- 
tingen, was  attacked  from  three  sides  by  an  enemy  force  estimated  as 
a  reinforced  company.  Savage  fighting  continued  for  three  hours.  Un- 
able to  beat  their  way  into  town,  the  Germans  finally  withdrew. 

Also  on  the  20th,  Company  C  of  the  302d  Infantry  moved  into 
Wochern  as  regimental  reserve  while  the  rest  of  the  1st  Battalion  was 
busy  clearing  the  western  portions  of  Monkey  Wrench  Woods.  While 
the  troops  began  preparing  positions  around  the  town,  Captain  Norbert 
C.  Marek  and  his  platoon  leaders  moved  forward  on  reconnaissance 
and,  at  1600  hours,  joined  Captain  Smith  at  his  command  post  request- 
ing that  he  orient  them  on  his  situation.  While  the  CO  of  Company 
L  was  explaining  matters,  a  radio  message  was  received  from  Lieuten- 
ant Colonel  Norman.  It  was  addressed  to  Captain  Marek,  who  had 
just  been  attached  to  the  2d  Battalion,  and  read:  "You  are  committed 
with  Captain  Smith/'  (Those  elements  of  Company  L  still  under 
Captain  Smith's  control  were  also  attached  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  Nor- 
man's battalion  whose  left  boundary  had  been  pushed  eastward  follow- 
ing the  enemy's  penetration  of  the  regimental  front.)  The  CO  of 
Company  C  promptly  dispatched  a  runner  to  lead  his  troops  forward, 
and  then  went  into  conference  with  Captain  Smith.  To  restore  the 
original  line  of  Company  L  and  regain  contact  with  the  3d  Platoon, 
the  company  commanders  agreed  to  counterattack  at  once. 

Company  C  moved  forward  into  the  woods  behind  Tettingen  and 
there  the  platoon  leaders  joined  their  men.  The  troops  dropped  their 
packs  and  moved  to  the  firing  trench  occupied  by  the  2d  Platoon  of 
Company  L.  As  they  came  into  position,  they  were  greeted  by  a  fierce 
artillery  concentration.  When  this  fire  lifted,  the  2d  and  3d  Platoons 


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145 


of  Captain  Marek's  company  took  positions  on  the  flanks  of  Sergeant 
Karl's  platoon.  Captain  Smith  then  appointed  Sergeant  Karl  First 
Sergeant  and  Staff  Sergeant  Anthony  S.  Ewasko  took  over  the  platoon. 

Lieutenant  John  A.  Wilson,  the  356th  Field  Artillery  forward  obser- 
ver with  Company  C,  arranged  a  five-minute  preparation  on  the  woods 
to  the  immediate  front.  As  this  friendly  artillery  fire  lifted,  the  troops 
moved  forward  to  the  antitank  ditch  and  slid  down  its  sides.  The  thin 
film  of  ice  in  the  bottom  of  the  ditch  broke  beneath  the  weight  of  the 
men,  immersing  them  almost  hip-deep  in  the  frigid  water.  In  the  ditch, 
Lieutenant  Donald  L.  Renck's  platoon  was  momentarily  delayed.  To 
the  right,  Sergeant  Ewasko's  platoon,  and  beyond  it  the  right  flank 
platoon  under  Lieutenant  Carl  D.  Richards,  moved  forward.  A  burst 
of  machine-gun  fire  from  the  wooden  bunker  that  had  been  used  by 
Company  L  as  a  command  post,  killed  Lieutenant  Renck  and  injured 
several  others  as  they  emerged  from  the  ditch.  The  rest  of  the  platoon 
overwhelmed  the  defenders  of  this  bunker,  taking  twelve  prisoners  and 
two  machine  guns.  Simultaneously,  rocket  and  artillery  fire  plus  auto- 
matic-weapons fire  from  pillboxes  north  of  the  Nennig-Tettingen  road 
proved  so  intense,  only  the  right  flank  elements  of  the  attacking  force 
were  able  to  regain  the  old  positions. 

Captains  Smith  and  Marek,  moving  forward  in  rear  of  the  assault 
platoons,  encountered  several  Germans  of  whom  they  killed  two  and 
captured  eight.  Observing  that  the  Americans  were  taking  prisoners, 
several  more  enemy  infantrymen  stood  up  with  their  hands  raised  in 
surrender.  Since  the  area  was  apparently  far  from  cleared,  Captain 
Smith  dispatched  a  runner  to  contact  the  left  platoon.  In  a  short  time, 
the  man  returned  saying  he  could  find  neither  Lieutenant  Renck  nor 
his  men.  The  CO  of  Company  L  then  took  up  a  search  himself  locat- 
ing the  platoon  in  the  vicinity  of  the  antitank  ditch  where  they  had 
been  stopped  by  the  volume  of  enemy  fire  and  thrown  into  confusion. 
The  platoon  leader  was  dead  and  Technical  Sergeant  George  E.  Fossal, 
the  Platoon  Sergeant,  was  missing.  So  quickly  had  events  transpired, 
Staff  Sergeant  Francis  J.  Kelly,  the  platoon  guide,  did  not  realize  that 
he  was  in  command.  While  the  platoon  reorganized  Captain  Marek 
with  a  small  force  hunted  down  and  eliminated  the  German  machine- 
gun  crew  causing  most  of  the  trouble. 

The  entire  counterattacking  force  then  dug  positions  facing  the 
Nennig-Tettingen  road  and  a  pair  of  pillboxes  which  had  halted  the 
advance,  with  the  left  of  the  line  curving  off  to  the  southwest  to  reduce 
the  danger  of  being  outflanked.  In  the  drive  forward  nothing  had  been 
seen  of  Sergeant  Markowski  or  his  platoon. 


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Throughout  the  night  this  new  position  was  subject  to  almost  con- 
stant artillery  and  rocket  fire.  Tree  bursts  multiplied  the  hazard  and 
casualties  were  numerous.  Several  times  during  the  hours  of  darkness, 
Lieutenant  Richards  inspected  the  position  and  recommended  that  the 
line  be  pulled  back  to  the  firing  trench,  as  the  position  was  only  thinly 
held  and  the  left  flank  was  badly  exposed.  This  suggestion  was  finally 
accepted.  Litters  were  improvised  and  the  slow  process  of  evacuating 
the  more  seriously  wounded  began.  Its  completion  took  most  of  the 
night  While  it  was  in  progress  the  line  had  to  be  held  despite  the 
fact  that  the  enemy  had  emplaced  machine  guns  on  the  flank  of  the 
group  and  the  whole  area  was  constantly  being  raked  by  fire. 

Throughout  this  fighting  on  the  20th  and  21st,  Technician  Third 
Grade  John  F.  Riskey,  an  aid  man  attached  to  Company  L,  repeatedly 
distinguished  himself.  Time  and  again  he  disregarded  the  intensity 
of  the  enemy's  machine-gun  and  artillery  fire  while  crawling  to  the 
assistance  of  wounded  riflemen.  On  one  occasion  part  of  his  coat  was 
ripped  to  shreds  by  enemy  fire.  Twice  when  portions  of  the  company 
were  temporarily  forced  to  withdraw,  he  remained  behind  to  care  for 
the  wounded.  His  heroic  actions  were  responsible  for  saving  the  lives 
of  more  than  one  member  of  Company  L. 

The  intense  cold  experienced  during  the  night  in  the  woods,  follow- 
ing the  dip  in  the  antitank  ditch  during  the  attack,  greatly  increased 
the  number  of  non-battle  casualties  in  both  companies.  By  morning, 
fifteen  men  had  to  be  evacuated  because  of  a  combination  of  trench 
foot  and  frozen  feet.  At  1000  hours,  when  Lieutenant  Colonel  Nor- 
man visited  Company  L,  permission  was  requested  to  withdraw  the 
company,  which  now  numbered  only  eighteen  men.  Captain  Smith 
explained  to  the  battalion  commander  that  he  had  not  been  evacuating 
men  with  uncomplicated  cases  of  trench  foot,  but  because  of  overlong 
exposure  his  men's  hands  were  beginning  to  freeze.  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Norman  ordered  the  remnants  of  Company  L  into  Wochern. 

During  the  afternoon  a  patrol  from  Company  A  worked  its  way 
east  through  the  upper  jaw  of  Monkey  Wrench  Woods  and  made 
contact  with  the  left  flank  of  Captain  Marek's  company.  Due  to  the 
confused  situation  and  the  vastly  extended  front,  it  was  impossible  for 
the  two  units  to  extend  their  flanks  and  reestablish  a  continuous  line 
of  resistance  that  night. 

On  the  22d,  eighteen  B-24s  were  seen  flying  north.  They  bombed 
the  towns  of  Buren  and  Kreuzweiler  where  the  enemy  had  120mm 
mortar  and  artillery  positions.  This  air  mission  was  officially  reported 
as  having  been  executed  "with  good  effect"  The  following  day,  three 


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this  did  not  in  the  least  throw  the  enemy  off  guard.  As  the  attackers 
moved  forward,  they  were  met  with  a  heavy  barrage  of  rockets  and 
artillery,  in  addition  to  intense  automatic  weapons  fire.  The  1st  Pla- 
toon of  Company  C  gained  only  about  three  hundred  yards  before  it 
was  pinned  down  by  heavy  and  accurate  machine-gun  fire  directed 
against  its  flank.  Casualties  were  inflicted  almost  immediately  and 
began  to  mount  alarmingly.  Technical  Sergeant  Nicholas  Oresko,  act- 
ing as  platoon  leader,  completely  disregarded  the  intensity  of  this  fire 
and  moved  against  the  nearest  machine  gun,  emplaced  in  a  bunker. 
As  he  advanced,  he  was  hit  but  continued  forward  without  a  halt. 
The  sergeant  lobbed  a  grenade,  then  charged  the  position,  killing  its 
occupants  with  his  Ml.  Shortly  thereafter,  Sergeant  Oresko  was  hit 
in  the  right  hip  and  knocked  to  the  ground.  He  regained  his  feet, 
refused  aid,  and  continued  to  lead  his  platoon.  When  fierce  and  accu- 
rate rifle  and  machine-gun  fire  from  a  second  bunker  again  stalled  the 
advance,  Sergeant  Oresko  repeated  his  daring  single  handed  asault. 
By  use  of  a  grenade  and  his  Ml,  he  annihilated  the  second  machine- 
gun  crew.  Only  then  did  the  sergeant  consent  to  proceed  to  the  aid 
station  as  a  walking  casualty. 

During  this  same  action,  Private  James  F.  Cousineau  displayed  a 
similar  disregard  for  the  intensity  of  the  enemy's  small-arms  and 
automatic-weapons  fire.  He  charged  a  German  machine-gun  position, 
knocked  it  out  with  grenades  and  then  cut  down  eleven  of  the  enemy 
with  the  fire  of  his  Ml.  Later  in  the  day,  while  attempting  to  evacuate 
wounded  comrades  from  positions  in  advance  of  the  firing  line,  Private 
Cousineau  and  another  soldier  were  surrounded  by  an  enemy  patrol. 
Together  they  fiercely  engaged  the  Germans  and  fought  their  way  back 
to  the  company. 

Throughout  this  assault  German  artillery  and  rocket  fire  continued 
at  terrible  intensity;  many  men  were  thrown  into  a  state  of  temporary 
paralysis  by  the  terrific  blast  effect  of  the  Screaming  Meemies.  One  of 
the  flame  throwers  was  lost  in  the  waters  of  the  antitank  ditch  and 
the  .50-calibers  could  not  be  gotten  across  this  obstacle.  At  1730  hours, 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Norman  called  off  the  attack  and  sent  Company 
F  back  into  Wochern. 


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Chapter  18:  NENNIG  COUNTERATTACK 


THOSE  ELEMENTS  of  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  in  the  Nennig- 
Berg-Wies  area,  also  received  quite  a  bit  of  attention  from  the 
11th  Panzer  Division  in  the  days  immediately  following  the 
relief  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston's  battalion.  At  approximately 
1000  hours  on  January  20,  1945,  five  German  tanks  loaded  with  infan- 
try tried  to  storm  Nennig  from  the  north.  Intense  small-arms  fire  and 
artillery  broke  the  back  of  the  attack  and  scattered  the  Grenadiers.  A 
few  of  the  attackers  managed  to  gain  a  foothold  in  the  northern  edge 
of  town,  but  were  soon  eliminated. 

At  2045  hours  that  same  evening,  tanks  were  heard  again  in  the 
vicinity  of  Nennig  and  shortly  thereafter  an  attack  was  launched  from 
the  hill  east  of  town.  As  the  Panzergrenadiers  charged  down  the  slope, 
illuminating  shells  were  fired  from  the  60mm  mortars.  They  burst  high 
above  the  attackers  and  the  men  of  Company  K  saw  hordes  of  infantry, 
supported  by  four  tanks,  sweeping  toward  town.  As  final  protective 
line  fires  were  laid,  the  darkness  was  pierced  by  livid  streaks  of  crossing 
tracers  while  the  mortars  and  artillery  filled  the  gaps  in  the  line  of 
fire  of  the  automatic  weapons.  Into  this  screaming  hell  the  Grenadiers 
advanced.  Most  of  the  attackers  never  made  the  edge  of  town.  Those 
few  who  did  were  soon  eliminated. 

For  the  most  part  the  following  day  passed  quietly  and  without 
major  incident.  Artillery,  rocket,  mortar  and  machine-gun  fire  fell  con- 
stantly all  through  the  battalion  area.  The  cold  was  intense  and  added 
to  the  discomfort  of  holding  the  three  towns.  Looking  toward  the 
enemy  lines,  the  men  of  the  3d  Battalion  waited  and  wondered  where 
the  next  blow  would  fall.  It  was  apparent  that  the  11th  Panzer  Divi- 
sion was  under  orders  to  eliminate  the  American  penetrations  into  the 
very  marrow  of  the  Siegfried  Switch  position.  Past  German  failures 
only  prophesied  future  attacks. 

At  about  2100  hours  on  the  21st,  the  northern  half  of  Nennig  was 
hit  by  a  barrage  that  rocked  the  town  as  the  enemy  artillery  laid  its 
preparation  for  another  attack  by  the  Ghost  Division.  German  bat- 
teries fired  at  a  terrific  rate  and  the  sky  above  Nennig  grew  bright  with 
the  glare  of  bursting  shells.  As  quickly  as  it  had  begun,  the  artillery 
fire  lifted  and  shifted  to  Wies  and  Besch.  German  infantry  and  tanks 
pushed  down  the  hill  to  the  east  of  Nennig  and  again  made  a  wild 
attempt  to  take  the  town  by  storm. 

Within  minutes  of  the  start  of  this  fearful  barrage,  the  guns  of  the 
356th  Field  Artillery  Battalion  took  up  the  German  challenge.  Gradu- 
ally the  other  American  artillery  battalions  within  range  added  the 
weight  of  their  fire.  Across  the  Moselle,  Company  M's  mortars  regis- 

149 


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CjO    glC  UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


r 


r  men  a*M  ma)6nei  ware  frequtnt  p<r  Nwitft  firenwtp)  strait 

tered  on  the  draw  east  of  Nennig  and  there  the  enemy  dead  were 


utterly <nnfu<cd;:  s^verAl  a  occupied  house?  m  the  northern  edge  of 
ton  n  were  known  to  W  m  enemy  hands.  , 

I  fink  *  ho  hud  ^rme  to  the  rtdge  easr  of  twt>  about  th< :  i^mc  ah- 
attack  sraited  ai^d  duecred  him  to  report  to  the  company  CP  Oo 


■ 

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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN- 


152 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


greater  force  than*  that  available  would  be  necessary  to  complete  the 
mission.  This  fact  was  reported  to  the  company  commander. 

By  morning  the  enemy  had  worked  three  tanks  into  town  and  had 
forced  Company  K  into  the  southern  half  of  Nennig.  At  0800  hours 
the  company  launched  a  bitter  counterattack  which  gained  some 
ground.  But,  the  nearly  exhausted  infantrymen  were  unable  to  get 
close  enough  to  the  tanks  to  knock  them  out.  Realizing  that  the  new 
position  could  not  be  held,  orders  were  issued  for  a  withdrawal  to  the 
small  creek  that  ran  through  town  from  east  to  west.  There  a  new 
defensive  line  was  established. 

The  panzers  and  Panzergrenadiers  were  also  giving  the  troops  in 
Berg  a  rough  time.  During  daylight  hours  at  least,  the  only  contact 
Lieutenant  Doherty  and  his  men  had  with  the  rest  of  Company  I  in 
Wies  was  by  radio  as  the  ground  between  the  two  towns  was  in  full 
view  of  the  enemy  and  constantly  swept  by  fire.  After  dark  on  the 
20th,  Private  First  Class  James  V.  Collins,  a  2d  Platoon  runner,  made 
his  way  from  Schloss  Berg  to  Wies  after  several  narrow  escapes.  He 
reported  to  Captain  Williams  that  the  platoon  was  in  bad  shape.  The 
enemy  had  attacked  with  infantry  and  tanks;  the  tanks,  using  point- 
blank  fire,  had  blasted  holes  in  the  walls  of  the  castle  through  which 
they  continued  to  fire  in  attempts  to  knock  out  American  resistance. 
Occasionally  the  platoon  was  able  to  make  radio  contact  and  obtain 
artillery  support,  but  for  the  most  part  Lieutenant  Doherty's  men  relied 
on  their  bazookas  to  keep  the  panzers  at  bay.  Ammunition  for  these 
weapons  was  nearly  exhausted  and  the  2d  Platoon  urgently  requested 
a  resupply. 

A  carrying  party  was  quickly  formed  and  Private  First  Class  Collins 
led  it  back  toward  the  Schloss.  Repeatedly  this  group  was  brought 
under  fire  and  was  unable  to  reach  the  castle.  Following  this  a  six- 
man  combat  patrol  was  organized  and  set  off  to  fight  through  to  the 
2d  Platoon.  It  encountered  heavy  enemy  machine-gun  fire.  When  four 
of  the  patrol  had  been  killed  the  survivors  returned  to  Wies. 

Meanwhile  the  Germans  persisted  in  their  attempts  to  take  Schloss 
Berg  and  eventually  the  two  squads  of  the  2d  Platoon  and  the  section 
of  HMGs  in  the  castle  were  lost  to  the  enemy.  There  was  no  further 
word  from  this  group  and  subsequently  an  American  machine  gun  was 
employed  against  the  3d  Battalion.  The  remaining  squad  of  the  pla- 
toon, under  the  command  of  Staff  Sergeant  Thomas  W.  Fontaine,  then 
found  themselves  out  of  contact  with  both  platoon  and  company.  With 
them  they  had  only  their  rifles  and  they  could  see  and  hear  numerous 


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NENNIG  COUNTERATTACK 


153 


enemy  tanks  from  their  position.  Certain  that  the  rest  of  the  platoon 
had  been  capured  by  the  Germans  and  unaware  of  the  fate  of  the 
company  itself,  the  squad  leader  decided  to  withdraw.  By  a  circuitous 
route  he  led  his  men  back  to  Besch  and  from  there  rejoined  Company 
I  in  Wies. 

The  initial  enemy  thrust  into  Nennig  isolated  elements  of  the  1st 
Platoon,  under  Lieutenant  Carpenter,  in  a  house  in  the  northeastern 
corner  of  the  town.  A  German  tank  approaching  this  building,  as  close 
as  the  narrow,  rubble-filled  street  would  permit,  opened  fire.  After 
he  had  pumped  several  rounds  into  the  building,  the  tank  commander 
called  on  the  Americans  to  surrender.  Lieutenant  Carpenter  told  him 
to  "blow  it  .  .  ."  and  the  action  continued.  When  the  Germans  found 
they  were  unable  either  to  reduce  the  position  or  talk  the  Americans 
into  surrender,  they  placed  machine  guns  to  cover  all  exits  from  the 
position  and  laid  siege. 

During  the  day  of  the  22d,  the  Germans  began  to  infiltrate  the 
southern  half  of  Nennig.  Again  and  again  Lieutenant  Seeby's  men 
drove  them  back,  but  the  depleted  company  did  not  have  sufficient 
strength  to  stave  off  the  invaders  completely.  Therefore,  Company  A 
of  the  7th  Armored  Infantry  Battalion,  part  of  CCA  of  the  8th 
Armored  Division  which  had  come  under  Division  control  for  a  short 
period  of  battle  indoctrination,  was  committed.  One  platoon  of  Com- 
pany A  assisted  Lieutenant  Seeby's  men  in  completely  clearing  the 
southern  half  of  Nennig.  That  night  other  elements  of  Company  A 
relieved  the  positions  on  the  ridge  and  a  portion  of  the  relieved  troops 
were  then  sent  forward  to  strengthen  the  line  in  the  center  of  town. 
Despite  this  reinforcement,  an  enemy  attack  during  the  night  succeeded 
in  driving  back  those  elements  of  Company  K  and  Company  A  of  the 
7th  AIB  holding  the  east-west  line  through  Nennig.  The  Germans 
retook  the  church  and  several  houses  in  its  vicinity. 

At  about  this  same  time,  Lieutenant  Edwards  of  Company  I  led  a 
sixteen-man  carrying  party  from  Wies  to  Nennig.  His  route  was  south 
along  the  railroad  tracks  to  a  point  below  Nennig.  There  he  crossed 
the  tracks,  entered  town  and  proceeded  up  the  main  street  to  the  bat- 
talion CP.  Upon  his  arrival,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt  questioned  him 
as  to  his  route  into  Nennig.  The  battalion  commander  then  informed 
Company  I's  executive  officer  that  an  enemy  machine  gun  periodically 
swept  the  street  he  had  used.  Needless  to  say,  the  carrying  party  left 
town  by  an  alternate  route. 

During  this  fighting  on  the  22d  of  January,  the  III  Battalion  of  the 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


110th  Panzergrenadiers  was  so  badly  cut  up  the  unit  was  dissolved 
and  its  surviving  personnel  distributed  among  the  other  battalions  of 
the  regiment.  The  I  Battalion  of  the  71 4th  Regiment,  redesignated 
the  774th,  arrived  from  east  of  the  Saar  and  was  immediately  com- 
mitted. 

To  halt  the  German  gains  in  Nennig,  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  was 
brought  forward  from  its  reserve  position  at  Monneren  on  the  morning 
of  the  23d.  Company  E  moved  north  along  the  Moselle  to  the  railroad 
tracks  west  of  Nennig,  which  were  again  used  as  a  line  of  departure. 
At  0700  hours  under  a  heavy  artillery  preparation,  the  attack  began 
with  the  1st  Platoon  moving  against  Nennig  and  the  2d  against  Berg. 

Commanded  by  Lieutenant  Gus  E.  Wilkins,  the  1st  Platoon  and 
Staff  Sergeant  David  H.  Godfrey's  60mm  mortar  squad  pushed  into 
the  northwestern  part  of  Nennig  against  slight  resistance.  They  had 
taken  four  houses  and  twenty-seven  prisoners  when  three  Mark  IVs 
appeared  on  the  scene.  The  advance  halted.  Technical  Sergeant 
Nathaniel  Isaacman,  the  Platoon  Sergeant,  and  Private  John  F.  Pietr- 
zah  made  their  way  to  the  roof  of  the  nearest  building  and  worked 
forward  over  the  roof  tops  while  enemy  machine  guns  in  Berg  sniped 
at  them.  When  they  gained  a  position  above  the  leading  tank,  Private 
Pietrzah  put  his  bazooka  into  action.  With  the  second  round  a  perfect 
hit  was  scored  and  the  vehicle  burst  into  flame.  This  second-story 
bazooka  team  next  directed  its  fire  against  the  last  Mark  IV,  setting 
it  afire  with  a  single  round;  thus  trapping  the  middle  tank  which  was 
knocked  out  with  a  rifle  grenade  by  Private  Albert  J.  Beardsley.  Enemy 
tankers  who  attempted  to  escape  from  their  burning  vehicles  were  cut 
down  by  rifle  fire. 

Meanwhile,  from  the  south,  Company  A  of  the  7th  AIB  and  ele- 
ments of  Company  K  were  again  attacking  north.  Company  A  took 
the  left  of  the  town;  Lieutenant  Seeby's  men  the  right.  This  attack 
moved  forward  successfully,  overrunning  seven  machine  guns,  includ- 
ing one  lost  by  Company  M  earlier  in  the  Nennig  fight. 

By  noon  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  E  was  holding  several  houses 
in  Nennig  and  the  2d  was  halted  about  three  hundred  yards  beyond 
its  line  of  departure  by  heavy  machine-gun  fire  which  was  being  re- 
ceived from  three  directions.  All  but  one  of  the  tanks  being  supported 
by  the  3d  Platoon  had  been  knocked  out  leaving  Lieutenant  Bernard 
F.  Simuro's  men  without  a  task.  Consequently,  Captain  Simon  D. 
Darrah  decided  to  commit  them  between  the  other  two  platoons  with 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


the  mission  of  silencing  the  machine  guns  in  the  cemetery  midway 
between  Nennig  and  Wies.  A  squad  under  Staff  Sergeant  Anthony  S. 
Rao  succeeded  in  knocking  out  these  weapons,  but  accurate  mortar  and 
artillery  fire  drove  them  from  the  cemetery. 

Company  G  of  the  376th,  commanded  by  Captain  John  D.  Heath, 
moved  through  Wies  and  pushed  to  the  northeast,  advancing  as  far 
as  the  antitank  ditch  where  they  were  stopped  by  machine-gun  fire 
from  Schloss  Berg  and  forced  to  withdraw.  To  prevent  any  enemy 
infiltration,  Company  F  was  then  committed  between  Companies  E  and 
G.  Late  in  the  afternoon  Captain  Darrah  worked  his  way  from  Wies 
into  Nennig  to  contact  his  1st  Platoon.  At  2000  hours  the  remainder 
of  Company  E  was  withdrawn  and  brought  into  Nennig  to  reinforce 
its  defenses. 

Well  after  dark  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt  and  Lieutenant  Fink 
worked  their  way  into  position  some  twenty-five  yards  from  the  house 
in  which  Lieutenant  Carpenter  and  his  men  were  isolated.  Enemy 
machine  guns  still  covered  all  approaches  to  the  building.  The  battal- 
ion commander  called  to  Lieutenant  Carpenter  and  told  him  to  hold 
fast  as  he  would  be  relieved  shortly. 

While  the  fighting  had  been  particularly  bitter  all  during  the  day 
of  the  23rd,  it  was  infinitely  more  costly  to  the  enemy  than  to  the  de- 
fenders of  Nennig.  As  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  moved  to  the  assistance 
of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt's  men,  the  attackers  were  reinforced  by 
the  I  and  II  Battalions  of  the  111th  Panzergrenadiers.  During  the  day 
five  Mark  IVs  were  knocked  out  in  the  streets  of  Nennig  but  still  the 
Germans  were  unable  to  force  a  decision.  In  a  final  desperate  attempt, 
the  I  Battalion  of  the  110th  was  thrown  into  the  fray  with  orders  to 
take  the  town  at  all  costs.  It  failed.  Both  the  110th  and  111th  had 
by  now  lost  fifty  percent  of  the  personnel  they  brought  into  The 
Triangle. 

On  the  morning  of  the  24th  at  0700  hours,  the  1st  Platoon  of  Com- 
pany E  and  a  composite  platoon  from  the  3d  Battalion  attacked  to 
clear  the  houses  in  Nennig  still  held  by  the  enemy.  Three  and  a  half 
hours  later  the  town  was  once  again  entirely  in  American  hands. 

The  next  problem  was  the  reduction  of  Schloss  Berg  which  com- 
manded all  the  terrain  in  the  vicinity  of  Wies  and  Nennig.  This  castle 
and  the  town  of  Berg  constituted  a  salient  into  the  American  lines. 
As  long  as  they  were  held  by  the  enemy,  the  western  flank  of  the 
Division  line  was  unsafe.  Hence,  this  ground  had  to  be  retaken.  An 
attack  was  planned  which  called  for  Company  G  to  drive  southeast 
from  Wies  while  Company  E  moved  north  from  Nennig.  At  1330 


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* 

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thereafter  four  German  machine  guns  opened  fire,  their  bullets  grazing 
the  lip  of  the  ditch  showered  the  men  with  snow.  The  ice  at  the  bottom 
of  the  tank  trap  was  not  thick  enough  to  support  the  weight  of  a 
man  and  the  troops  were  soon  soaked  from  the  hips  down.  Recon- 
naissance parties  explored  the  ditch  but  there  was  no  escape.  In  one 
direction  it  became  impassable;  in  the  other  it  led  deep  into  the  Ger- 
man lines.  Upon  learning  that  there  was  no  possibility  of  maneuver- 
ing, a  message  was  radioed  to  the  company  commander  explaining  the 
situation.  As  a  result,  the  1st  Platoon  was  committed  on  the  right  in 
an  attempt  to  break  into  Berg  itself.  The  platoon  reached  the  outskirts 
of  town  only  to  be  stopped  by  machine-gun  and  artillery  fire.  Again 
and  again  American  tank  destroyers  and  the  artillery  pounded  the 
castle  without  apparent  results.  The  German  machine  guns  continued 
to  fire. 

In  the  antitank  ditch,  the  wet  clothing  on  the  men  froze  in  a  matter 
of  minutes.  Then  the  canteens  froze  and  later  the  radio  did  likewise. 
About  dark,  the  aid  man  decided  to  attempt  the  evacuation  of  one  of 
the  wounded  and  started  toward  Wies  with  his  patient.  An  hour  later 
he  returned  with  word  that  a  smoke  screen  would  be  laid  to  cover  the 
platoon's  withdrawal.  As  the  smoke  descended,  the  platoon  took  off 
pell-mell  for  Wies. 

That  evening  General  Cheadle  and  the  CO  of  Combat  Command 
A  of  the  8th  Armored  Division  visited  the  command  post  of  the  2d 
Battalion,  376th  in  Wies.  "I  have  orders  that  your  battalion  will  attack 
at  0300  to  establish  a  bridgehead  for  the  armor  which  will  then  pass 
through  you  and  continue  the  attack,"  said  General  Cheadle.  Lieuten- 
ant Colonel  Martin  replied  that  his  men  were  exhausted  and  that  the 
battalion  was  so  far  understrength  it  could  not  possibly  accomplish 
the  task.  While  ready  to  obey  the  order  if  so  directed,  he  suggested 
a  night  attack  by  a  fresh  battalion.  The  situation  was  discussed  at 
length  and  permission  was  finally  obtained  from  Division  to  have  the 
7th  Armored  Infantry  Battalion  attack  at  0600  hours.  The  armored 
infantry  moved  out  on  schedule  to  their  first  fire  fight.  Observed  by 
General  Malony  and  their  own  CG,  they  advanced  across  the  open 
ground  and  closed  on  Berg.  Relentlessly  the  battle  continued  through- 
out the  day  with  the  enemy  contending  bitterly  for  this  valuable  piece 
of  terrain.  By  1630  hours  on  the  25th,  all  of  Berg  was  cleared  by 
the  7th  AIB  which  suffered  extremely  severe  casualties. 


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AT  1030  HOURS  on  the  24th,  Major  General  John  M.  Devine,  CG 
r\  8th  Armored  Division,  and  his  chief  of  staff  arrived  at  the 
-Z~j\.  command  post  of  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  in  Wochern.  Accom- 
panied by  Captain  Hodges  they  went  forward  to  Tettingen  on  recon- 
naissance. At  noon,  other  staff  officers  from  the  armored  division  put 
in  an  appearance.  Something  was  definitely  in  the  wind. 

During  the  morning,  Company  L  was  relieved  of  attachment  to 
the  2d  Battalion  and  a  platoon  from  Company  F  took  over  the  position 
in  Der  Heidlich  while  the  other  platoons  of  the  company  moved  into 
the  line  west  of  Company  C.  Company  C  then  reverted  to  the  control 
of  the  1st  Battalion,  but  remained  in  position.  Following  this,  Com- 
panies A  and  B  shifted  to  the  right,  relieving  the  two  platoons  of 
Company  F,  on  the  left  of  Captain  Marek's  men.  These  platoons  of 
Company  F  then  reverted  to  battalion  reserve  in  Wochern.  Object  of 
these  shifts  was  to  facilitate  the  relief  of  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  by 
the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  the  night  of  the  25th,  and  the  relief  of  the 
2d  Battalion,  302d,  by  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  during  the  early  morn- 
ing hours  of  the  26th. 

On  the  morning  of  the  25th,  General  Malony  dictated  his  order  for 
the  attack  on  Sinz,  located  approximately  one  mile  north  of  Butzdorf. 
It  was  imperative  that  something  be  done  to  relieve  pressure  on  the 
Division  west  flank  in  the  Nennig-Berg  area  and  seizing  Sinz  and 
Munzingen  ridge  to  the  east  would  accomplish  this  end.  The  301st 
Infantry,  less  the  3d  Battalion,  was  to  support  this  operation  from  its 
position  on  the  right  of  the  Division  sector.  Colonel  Hagerty's  regi- 
ment was  to  maintain  contact  with  the  3d  Cavalry  Group  on  the 
right  and  with  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  on  the  left,  which  unit  was 
placed  under  division  control  and  charged  with  giving  direct  support 
to  the  main  effort  from  its  battle  position.  The  376th  Infantry  would 
make  the  main  effort.  Its  mission  was  to  seize  and  hold  the  objective 
while  maintaining  contact  with  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  on  the  right 
subsequent  to  its  relief  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Norman's  men,  and 
the  rest  of  Colonel  Johnson's  command,  on  the  left.  In  conjunction 
with  the  attack  of  the  376th,  the  302d  was  to  launch  an  attack  on 
the  Division  left  flank  to  clear  a  bridgehead  through  which  CCA  of 
the  8th  Armored  Division,  attached  for  only  forty-eight  hours,  might 
pass.  In  addition,  Colonel  Johnson's  men  were  to  protect  the  Division 
flank  from  the  Moselle  to  Sinz  while  maintaining  contact  with  the 
376th  on  the  right  and  the  2d  Cavalry  Group  of  XII  Corps  across 
the  Moselle  River.  The  mission  assigned  to  the  armor  was  a  passage 
through  the  sector  of  the  302d  to  destroy  all  enemy  tanks  and  installa- 

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tions  in  its  path  of  advance  to  Sinz  from  the  west.  It  was  also  to  be 
prepared  to  repel  counterattacks  from  the  north  and  east.  The  3d 
Battalion,  301st,  was  to  be  motorized  and  held  in  Division  reserve  for 
use  as  a  counterattacking  force. 

Colonel  McClune  had  at  his  disposal  the  1st  and  3d  Battalions  of 
his  own  regiment  and  was  to  receive  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  after 
its  relief  on  the  night  of  the  25th-26th,  by  the  1st  Battalion,  302d. 
Following  the  unit  commanders'  meeting,  Colonel  McClune  called 
a  conference  of  his  battalion  commanders  and  their  operations  officers 
to  explain  his  plan.  The  regiment's  attack  would  push  through  the 
clearing  and  woods  to  the  northwest  of  Butzdorf,  with  the  2d  Battal- 
ion, 302d,  on  the  right,  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  on  the  left,  and  the 
1st  Battalion  in  reserve  in  Monkey  Wrench  Woods.  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Norman's  battalion  was  to  take  Sinz  while  the  3d  crossed  the 
Sinz-Bubingen  road  to  secure  Untersie  Busch  and  the  high  ground 
beyond. 

Following  this  meeting,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner,  CO  of  the  1st 
Battalion,  376th,  took  his  company  commanders  into  Monkey  Wrench 
Woods  for  a  personal  reconnaissance  of  the  AT  ditch,  just  north  of 
the  upper  jaw,  in  which  Companies  B  and  C  were  to  take  positions 
that  night  while  Company  A  set  up  in  the  southwest  corner  of  the 
lower  jaw.  Shortly  after  dark  the  1st  Battalion  Executive  Officer, 
Major  Benjamin  S.  Roper,  brought  the  troops  forward  into  Besch  by 
truck.  From  there  the  companies  moved  into  the  woods.  Subsequently, 
the  assault  battalions,  2d  Battalion,  302d  and  3d  Battalion,  376th, 
assembled  in  the  upper  jaw  of  Monkey  Wrench  Woods  behind 
Companies  B  and  C 

Shoepacs  had  at  last  been  issued  to  the  men  and  it  was  hoped  the 
toll  of  frostbite  and  trench  foot  casualties  would  drop  off  sharply. 
Ever  since  the  Division  had  reached  the  Western  Front,  lack  of  proper 
footgear  for  work  in  the  snow,  during  the  dead  of  a  very  cold  winter, 
had  caused  an  excessive  number  of  non-battle  casualties. 

During  the  day  of  the  25th  while  the  assault  units  were  preparing 
for  the  coming  operation,  the  attack  order  was  somewhat  modified. 
Following  the  jumpoff,  the  assault  companies  were  to  push  to  the  edge 
of  the  woods  south  of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road  and  hold  there.  Division 
headquarters  would  issue  orders  for  movement  into  Sinz. 

At  daybreak  of  the  26th  the  attack  jumped  off.  A  platoon  of  the 
81st  Chemical  Mortar  Battalion  laid  smoke  on  Sinz,  Campholz  Woods 
and  the  road  leading  north  from  Butzdorf.  These  concentrations  were 
fired  in  a  blizzard  that  added  inches  to  the  knee-deep  snow. 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


The  2d  Battalion,  302d,  attacked  with  Company  E  on  the  right  and 
Company  F  on  the  left  while  Company  G,  which  was  in  reserve, 
followed  the  assault  units  at  600  yards.  Using  marching  fire,  Company 
E  was  the  first  to  reach  Phase  Line  A.  Although  the  company  was 
slowed  down  by  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire  from  the  woods  to  its  front, 
it  continued  forward.  Company  F  encountered  the  right  edge  of  the 
minefield  that  had  trapped  the  3d  Battalion.  Several  men  had  already 
been  injured  when  Lieutenant  Maurice  S.  Dodge,  the  company  execu- 
tive officer,  came  forward  to  see  what  was  slowing  the  advance.  Lieu- 
tenant Dodge  stepped  on  a  mine  and  became  a  casualty  himself.  Just 
then,  Private  Jennings  B.  Pettry  approached  with  a  prisoner.  In  at- 
tempting to  lift  Lieutenant  Dodge  and  move  him  to  the  rear,  another 
mine  was  detonated.  Private  Pettry  was  temporarily  blinded,  the 
German  instantly  killed,  and  Lieutenant  Dodge  mortally  wounded. 

Primacord  was  brought  forward  by  the  engineers  and  with  this  a 
path  was  blasted  through  the  antipersonnel  minefield.  After  the  com- 
pany reorganized,  it  moved  forward  to  come  abreast  of  Company  E 
which  had  already  reached  the  far  edge  of  the  woods. 

By  this  time  mortar,  artillery  and  small-arms  fire  was  being  directed 
against  the  2d  Battalion  from  both  Sinz  and  Butzdorf.  The  regimental 
Cannon  Company  was  ordered  to  place  concentrations,  one  every  five 
minutes,  on  the  pillboxes  northwest  of  Campholz,  as  these  boxes  were 
delivering  long-range  automatic  fire  on  the  attacking  troops  as  well 
as  directing  the  artillery  fire. 

When  Company  E  reached  the  second  phase  line,  it  was  ordered 
to  dig  in  and  await  the  rest  of  the  battalion.  Dead  Germans  strewn 
throughout  the  woods  attested  to  the  effectiveness  of  the  overhead 
machine-gun  fire  and  the  marching  fire  employed  by  the  riflemen  in 
their  advance.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Norman  attempted  to  learn  the 
whereabouts  of  CCA  but  was  unable  to  contact  it  by  radio.  Companies 
F  and  G  soon  reached  the  edge  of  the  woods  and  also  began  digging 
positions  in  the  frozen  ground. 

The  delay  of  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  in  the  minefield  dangerously 
exposed  the  left  flank  of  the  2d  Battalion.  To  eliminate  this  threat, 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's  1st  Battalion  was  ordered  to  continue  the 
attack,  passing  through  or  around  the  stalled  3d  Battalion.  As  the 
1st  Battalion  approached  the  vicinity  of  the  minefield  it  was  subjected 
to  a  heavy  artillery  concentration,  whereupon  it  veered  to  the  right 
and  followed  the  2d  Battalion's  route  of  advance. 


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In  the  meantime,  Companies  E  and  F  of  the  302d  had  fanned  out 
through  the  woods  toward  Sinz  where  they  awaited  the  arrival  of  the 
1st  Battalion.  When  three  tanks  were  seen  approaching  the  battalion's 
position,  they  were  assumed  to  be  American.  Visibility  was  obscured  by 
the  snow  and  heavy  brush,  so  the  armored  vehicles  were  almost  upon 
the  troops  before  they  discovered  them  to  be  German.  As  the  tanks 
opened  fire,  the  troops  spotted  German  infantry  advancing  behind 
them.  Thereupon,  they  pulled  back  to  the  rear  slope  of  the  hill  to 
avoid  the  direct  fire  of  the  tanks  and  assumed  new  positions.  During 
this  withdrawal  Sergeant  Gilbert  E.  Kinyon,  of  Company  F,  remained 
behind,  firing  his  carbine  at  the  leading  tank.  This  caused  the  panzer 
to  button  up,  thus  reducing  its  scope  of  vision.  Private  First  Class 
Laverne  Sinclair,  of  Company  E,  picked  up  a  bazooka  and  a  single 
round  of  ammunition,  exclaiming:  'Til  stop  one  of  them!"  When  the 
nearest  German  tank  was  within  twenty-five  yards,  he  opened  fire  and 
blew  off  a  tread.  Captain  James  W.  Griffin  running  to  the  head  of 
Company  G  found  his  men  slowly  withdrawing.  He  ordered  the  com- 
pany to  hold  and  sent  for  his  bazooka  teams.  Upon  their  arrival,  the 
captain  directed  bazooka  fire  against  the  two  undamaged  tanks  until 
one  of  these  was  set  afire  and  the  other  withdrew.  Artillery  support 
which  had  been  requested  helped  disperse  the  German  infantry  and 
the  counterattack  was  repulsed.  The  companies  then  reorganized  and 
dug  positions  on  the  northern  edge  of  the  woods.  Enemy  artillery  fire 
began  to  pour  into  the  area  and  casualties  mounted  as  the  effectiveness 
of  the  German  fire  was  greatly  increased  by  the  number  of  tree  bursts. 
There  were  no  blankets  and  with  the  coming  of  night  the  weather 
turned  colder. 

At  dusk  word  was  relayed  to  battalion  headquarters  that  tanks  had 
been  seen  in  Sinz.  Major  Maixner  received  this  information  in  Wochern 
while  General  Cheadle  was  in  the  command  post.  The  general  in- 
formed the  battalion  executive  officer  that  there  were  no  American 
tanks  in  Sinz  and  the  weight  of  the  Division  artillery  was  hurled 
against  the  town. 

As  a  part  of  the  attack,  General  Malony  had  ordered  the  1st  Bat- 
talion, 302d,  under  Division  control,  to  take  the  town  of  Butzdorf. 
Company  A,  supported  by  tank  destroyers,  launched  this  offensive 
from  the  woods  southwest  of  Tettingen.  The  advance  across  the  clear- 
ing surrounding  Butzdorf  was  costly,  for  the  men  were  in  full  view 
of  the  German  pillboxes  on  the  high  ground  east  of  town.  They  also 
received  fire  from  the  Halfway  House  until  it  was  hit  with  concentra- 


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tions  of  HE  and  white  phosphorus  which  caused  the  Germans  garrison- 
ing the  building  to  flee  in  confusion.  Soon  the  town  was  cleared  and 
in  American  hands,  but  use  of  the  road  leading  from  Tettingen  into 
Butzdorf  was  still  denied  by  enemy  positions  to  the  east.  During  this 
advance,  Lieutenant  Samuel  G.  Norquist,  acting  company  executive 
officer,  continuously  exposed  himself  while  leading  the  company  for- 
ward. His  outstanding  behavior  did  much  toward  carrying  the  assault 
rapidly  forward.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Robert  L.  Love,  G-2  of  the  Divi- 
sion, and  Captain  Luis  J.  Flanagan,  Battalion  S-3,  who  had  accom- 
panied the  troops  into  Butzdorf,  were  both  wounded  in  front  of  the 
Company  CP. 

That  night  three-man  patrols  from  Company  A  went  out  to  contact 
the  elements  of  the  302d  on  the  left.  Supply  and  evacuation  were 
accomplished  by  means  of  a  Weasel  through  the  orchard  west  of  Butz- 
dorf. Company  B,  in  Borg,  ran  contact  patrols  to  Tettingen  to  guard 
against  the  possibility  of  a  German  surprise  thrust  from  Campholz 
Woods. 

During  the  afternoon,  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  was  withdrawn  from 
in  front  of  the  minefield,  which  had  stopped  its  advance,  to  Monkey 
Wrench  Woods,  where  it  spent  the  night.  Contact  between  companies 
was  maintained  during  lulls  in  the  enemy's  artillery  concentrations. 

When  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  passed  through  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Thurston's  troops,  it  had  orders  to  coordinate  with  the  2d  Battalion 
302d.  Company  B  soon  made  contact  with  Company  F  and  tied  in 
on  the  left  flank  of  the  latter  unit  while  Company  C  went  into  posi- 
tion farther  to  the  left.  Captain  Chester  B.  Dadisman,  commanding 
Company  A  of  the  376th,  remained  in  reserve  in  the  antitank  ditch 
in  Monkey  Wrench  Woods.  Interested  in  discovering  a  satisfactory 
route  of  supply  and  evacuation  for  the  rest  of  the  battalion,  he  sent 
Sergeant  Joseph  Sanniec  and  four  men  to  check  the  Nennig-Tettingen 
road  for  mines.  While  on  this  mission,  Sergeant  Sanniec  observed 
several  figures  in  GI  overcoats  north  of  the  road.  He  sent  Private  First 
Class  K.  O.  Kettler  across  a  gully  and  into  the  clearing  beyond  to 
investigate.  As  Kettler  worked  his  way  forward  he  called  out:  "Who 
is  it?"  The  men  yelled  back,  "L  Company!  Get  out — Germans  are 
on  three  sides!" 

Company  A's  patrol  withdrew  and  the  incident  was  reported  to 
Captain  Frank  Malinski,  the  battalion  S-3.  A  stronger  patrol  was 
organized  and  Captain  Edwin  Brehio  accompanied  the  group  that 


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returned  to  the  position  in  question.  Using  his  glasses,  the  captain 
verified  the  fact  that  the  men  were  Americans  and  four  BAR  men 
went  forward  to  cover  the  withdrawal  of  Technical  Sergeant  Petry's 
men  from  the  orchard.  Four  of  the  Company  L  men  had  to  be  carried 
to  the  rear.  At  the  antitank  ditch  in  which  Company  A  was  located, 
they  were  fed  and  from  there  were  sent  to  the  aid  station  in  Besch. 

At  the  clearing  station,  Technical  Sergeant  Arnold  A.  Petry,  the 
platoon  sergeant  who  only  six  years  earlier  had  been  a  member  of  the 
Hitler  Youth  in  Germany,  recounted  the  activities  of  the  two  squads 
in  the  orchard  after  Lieutenant  Travers  and  his  patrol  left  for  Besch 
to  obtain  aid  on  the  20th.  Food  had  been  an  immediate  problem  as 
each  of  the  men  had  carried  only  one  can  of  C  ration.  During  a  lull 
in  the  artillery  fire,  the  two  dead  Germans  closest  to  the  position  were 
searched;  their  haversacks  yielded  one  thick  slice  of  black  bread,  a  bag 
of  biscuits  and  a  can  of  meat.  When  one  of  the  men  remembered  that 
he  had  left  a  can  of  C  rations  in  a  foxhole  occupied  earlier  in  the  day, 
Staff  Sergeant  Victor  J.  Carnaghi  of  the  3d  Squad  crawled  back  to 
retrieve  the  precious  food.  This  hole  was  almost  fifty  yards  away, 
over  the  crest  and  down  the  reverse  slope.  The  sergeant  made  the 
trip  safely  only  to  discover  the  enemy's  artillery  had  felled  a  large 
tree  across  the  foxhole  in  question.  The  food  was  definitely  beyond 
reach. 

As  the  afternoon  progressed  the  sounds  of  battle  east  and  west  of 
the  orchard  grew  ever  fainter.  When  the  sun  began  to  set  and  there 
was  still  no  word  from  the  platoon  leader  or  sign  of  a  relief  force, 
the  troops  resigned  themselves  to  the  fact  that  the  patrol  had  not 
gotten  through.  Guard  shifts  were  arranged  and  the  squads  settled 
down  to  wait  out  the  long,  cold  night.  With  the  coming  of  dawn  there 
was  still  no  sign  of  relief  from  battalion;  spirits  ebbed  but  the  isolated 
infantrymen  resolved  not  to  surrender  under  any  circumstances.  Day 
followed  day  and  as  the  food  gave  out,  the  cold  bit  to  the  very  marrow. 

On  the  third  night  of  the  siege,  the  men  held  a  council  of  war  and 
agreed  to  attempt  a  break  for  the  American  lines  that  night,  striking 
directly  east  toward  Nennig.  Private  First  Class  John  A.  Dresser  and 
Private  First  Class  James  E.  Meneses,  acting  as  scouts,  again  and  again 
ran  into  German  outposts.  In  despair  the  squads  pulled  back  to  the 
foxholes  in  the  orchard  and  the  siege  continued.  Nightly,  thereafter, 
three-man  patrols  were  sent  out  to  seek  a  route  through  the  enemy 
cordon,  but  without  success. 

Only  slightly  less  annoying  than  the  pangs  of  hunger  was  the  throat- 
parching  thirst  the  men  suffered  despite  the  cold.  They  soon  discovered 


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that  eating  snow  was  unsatisfactory.  For  the  most  part  they  obtained 
water  either  by  sitting  on  a  helmet  full  of  snow  until  it  melted  or  by 
moving  in  small  groups,  after  dark,  to  a  brook  located  in  a  small  draw 
near  the  orchard.  On  the  fifth  night  Private  First  Class  Earl  Freeman 
was  killed  instantly  by  a  shell  fragment  while  on  a  water  detail. 

With  each  passing  day  the  outlook  became  blacker,  but  Sergeant 
Petry's  men  were  still  determined  not  to  surrender.  Thus,  they  held 
their  isolated  and  surrounded  position  for  seven  days  until  relieved 
by  the  rescue  party  from  Company  A. 

The  302d  Infantry,  less  its  1st  and  2d  Battalions,  and  with  the  2d 
Battalion,  376th,  attached,  also  attacked  at  dawn  on  the  26th.  It  was 
to  expand  the  small  bridgehead  established  by  the  armored  infantry 
battalion  at  Berg,  so  that  the  tanks  of  CCA  of  the  8th  Armored  Divi- 
sion might  be  committed.  The  2d  Battalion,  376th,  was  placed  on  the 
left,  to  drive  northeast  from  Wies  and  Berg  to  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road; 
while  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  was  to  push  east  from  Berg  and  Nennig, 
to  clear  the  ridge  leading  to  Sinz  and  make  contact  with  the  376th 
Infantry  in  the  vicinity  of  Untersie  Busch  Woods.  This  attack  jumped 
off  at  0700  hours.  Company  G  of  the  376th,  on  the  extreme  left,  was 
stopped  cold  by  fire  from  Bubingen  and  withdrew  to  Wies  where  it 
continued  to  secure  the  left  flank  of  the  advance.  Company  E,  on 
the  battalion  right,  advanced  about  one  hundred  yards  and  struck  a 
Schii-mine  field.  As  his  men  hesitated,  Lieutenant  Dodson  called  on 
them  to  follow  him  and  led  them  through  safely.  The  company  then 
moved  rapidly  forward  for  several  hundred  yards.  As  they  approached 
an  open  hill,  several  German  machine  guns  opened  fire;  the  company 
halted  with  both  flanks  exposed.  To  the  right  rear  Sergeant  Gerald 
W.  Jende  spotted  two  Germans  setting  up  another  automatic  weapon 
to  engage  his  unit  from  behind;  with  two  well  placed  rifle  shots  he 
eliminated  the  enemy  gunners.  However,  the  company  was  still  unable 
to  advance. 

The  3d  Battalion,  302d,  which  also  moved  to  the  attack  at  0700 
hours,  encountered  heavy  resistance  east  of  Nennig  and  was  held  up 
most  of  the  morning  just  beyond  the  line  of  departure.  About  noon 
with  the  assistance  of  the  artillery  it  was  able  to  push  forward.  As 
the  battalion  came  abreast  of  Company  E,  it  encountered  fire  from  the 
same  machine  guns  delaying  that  company.  Seeing  the  gap  on  the 
right  was  about  to  be  closed,  the  troops  of  Company  E  rushed  the 
German  position.  This  attack  was  costly,  but  it  netted  two  machine 
guns  and  twenty-nine  prisoners. 


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As  Company  E  reached  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road,  three  German 
tanks  appeared  on  the  right  and  the  company  fell  back  approximately 
150  yards  to  join  flanks  with  the  3d  Battalion.  Artillery  support  was 
requested,  but  through  an  error  the  concentration  fell  not  on  the  tanks 
but  upon  the  3d  Battalion  and  Company  E.  Resulting  casualties  were 
heavy  and  when  the  fire  lifted  both  units  were  instructed  to  dig  posi- 
tions for  the  night.  Throughout  the  day,  the  7th  Armored  Infantry 
Battalion  and  Company  A  of  the  18th  Tank  Battalion  had  assisted 
the  two  infantry  battalions  in  their  attack.  When  the  advance  stalled, 
these  units  were  withdrawn  to  prepare  for  a  renewal  of  the  offensive 
the  following  morning. 

The  next  morning,  in  Colonel  McClune's  sector,  the  1st  Battalion, 
376th,  attacked  to  seize  Untersie  Busch  Woods  and  the  high  ground 
surrounding  it,  in  conjunction  with  the  advance  of  the  2d  Battalion. 
302d.  As  Companies  B  and  C  jumped  off,  Company  A  moved  forward 
to  the  positions  held  by  the  other  companies  during  the  night,  to  pro- 
tect the  left  flank  of  the  advance.  Companies  E  and  G  bypassed  Com- 
pany F  and  continued  to  the  most  forward  positions  within  the  woods. 
There  they  were  instructed  to  hold  until  further  orders.  While  they 
occupied  these  positions  enemy  sniper  and  artillery  fire  took  a  heavy 
toll. 

With  the  resumption  of  the  attack,  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  came 
forward  to  an  alert  position  in  the  rear  of  the  1st  Battalion.  In  moving 
up,  the  men  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston's  battalion  gained  some 
idea  of  the  fury  of  the  fighting  on  the  previous  day.  The  woods  were 
littered  with  German  and  American  dead  and  the  air  was  heavy  with 
the  stench  of  charred  flesh,  emanating  from  burned-out  tanks. 

Meanwhile,  Companies  B  and  C  of  the  376th  advanced  to  some 
barbed-wire  entanglements  200  yards  south  of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road. 
There  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  noticed  that  the  assault  companies 
of  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  were  not  in  sight.  This  meant  that  his  right 
flank  was  exposed.  Therefore,  he  instructed  Captain  Dadisman  to  bring 
Company  A  into  position  to  the  right  rear  of  the  battalion,  as  protec- 
tion against  the  possibiliy  of  a  counterattack  launched  from  the  east. 
During  this  shifting  of  the  reserve,  the  assault  companies  continued 
their  advance,  mopping  up  as  they  went. 

When  Companies  B  and  C  reached  the  road,  they  each  sent  one 
squad  into  Untersie  Busch.  To  this  intrusion  the  enemy  responded 
promptly  with  a  vicious  counterattack  launched  from  the  edge  of  the 
woods.  In  this  thrust,  three  camouflaged  tanks,  one  of  which  was  a 


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170  THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 

Tiger,  and  an  undetermined  number  of  infantry  were  employed. 
Intense  automatic-weapons  fire  of  very  large  caliber  was  also  thrown 
against  the  1st  Battalion;  Lieutenant  William  Bendure  of  Company 
B  and  Sergeant  Ackerman  of  Company  C  were  hit  on  the  initial  bursts. 
One  of  the  squads  in  Untersie  Busch  came  so  close  to  a  skillfully 
camouflaged  enemy  tank,  at  the  start  of  the  counterattack,  that  its  crew 
could  not  sufficiently  depress  the  muzzzle  of  their  gun  to  hit  the  infan- 
trymen. Lieutenant  William  Ring,  who  had  come  across  the  road, 
fired  six  rounds  from  a  bazooka  at  the  panzers.  All  were  deflected 
by  the  heavy  bush  covering  the  armor.  As  the  German  attack  gained 
momentum,  the  troops  withdrew  to  a  position  approximately  one 
hundred  yards  south  of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road  where  a  rise  in  the 
ground  gave  some  shelter  from  the  enemy's  direct-fire  weapons.  This 
was  only  scant  protection,  however,  as  all  companies  were  receiving 
heavy  mortar,  rocket  and  artillery  fire.  While  the  troops  remained 
in  this  position,  waiting  for  the  tanks  of  CCA  to  break  through  the 
302d  bridgehead,  Captain  Duckworth  was  hit  and  Lieutenant  James 
W.  Cornelius  took  command  of  Company  C. 

To  the  west  in  the  vicinity  of  Nennig,  there  was  a  good  deal  of 
activity  behind  the  American  lines.  From  Division  reserve  the  3d 
Battalion,  301st,  was  rushed  forward  on  the  night  of  the  26th  and 
sent  into  Nennig.  The  7th  AIB  and  the  18th  Tank  Battalion  continued 
their  preparations  for  the  support  of  the  attack  the  following  day. 

At  0915  hours  on  the  27th,  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  passed  through 
the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  and  pushed  the  attack  vigorously,  supported  by 
a  fresh  company  of  tanks.  Again  the  machine  guns  and  panzers  that 
had  stopped  the  American  attack  the  preceding  day  went  into  action 
for  the  Germans  were  aware  that  as  soon  as  the  forces  striking  from 
the  south  and  west  joined,  all  would  be  lost.  They  fought  desperately, 
but  one  by  one  the  machine  guns  were  eliminated  and  the  tanks 
destroyed.  The  advance  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  McNulty's  battalion 
progressed  favorably  and  continued  to  pick  up  momentum.  By  noon, 
the  Sinz-Bubingen  road  had  been  crossed  and  the  enemy  temporarily 
routed.  Through  the  infantry  and  down  the  newly  won  axis  of  advance, 
the  tanks  of  the  18th  Tank  Battalion  moved  east  toward  Sinz. 

At  about  1300  hours,  the  leading  tank  of  CCA  was  seen  approach- 
ing over  the  open  ground  south  of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road  by  an 
OP  of  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  in  the  woods  southwest  of  Sinz.  Lieu- 
tenant Colonel  Miner  was  informed  and  without  delay  the  battalion 


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^  l^  UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


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ks.  t^vafu'lmtersic-  Busch  and  Sun;.  The  Shermans  moved 
along  a  tratS  t>>  the  mum  road  where  a  fierce  tank  battle  ensued .':  So 
intense  was  the:  firing  that  m  a  matte?  of  minutes  all  three  of  the 
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•Original  from 

UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 

i 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


order  came  through  from  regiment  for  an  attack  against  Sinz  from 
the  eastern  edge  of  Untersie  Busch  Woods,  in  conjunction  with  an 
assault  from  the  south  by  the  2d  Battalion,  302d.  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Miner  promptly  informed  his  company  commanders  that  the  battalion 
would  move  out  with  Company  A  on  the  right  and  Company  B  on 
the  left.  The  former  unit  was  to  advance  along  the  road  leading  into 
Sinz  in  the  cover  of  the  ditch.  Company  C  would  remain  in  reserve 
in  Untersie  Busch.  While  the  companies  were  moving  into  position  for 
this  new  operation,  the  battalion  commander  climbed  into  one  of  the 
tanks  to  coordinate  his  attack  with  the  armor  by  radio.  Several  of  the 
tanks  were  low  on  ammunition  and  had  to  return  for  a  resupply;  more- 
over, in  attempting  to  cross  the  antitank  ditch  across  the  road  at  the 
east  edge  of  Untersie  Busch,  one  of  the  tanks  was  trapped.  Three 
others  succeeded  in  negotiating  this  obstacle,  but  were  slowed  down 
when  the  leading  vehicle  was  knocked  out  by  an  88. 

Accompanied  by  Lieutenant  King  of  Company  B,  the  battalion  com- 
mander took  off  on  a  personal  reconnaissance  after  the  conference  with 
the  tankers.  On  the  edge  of  the  woods,  the  two  officers  ran  into  a 
German  counterattacking  force.  At  the  same  time,  Company  C  ob- 
served the  attackers  who  were  supported  by  armor.  Company  A  was 
alerted  and  Company  B  moved  back  into  the  antitank  ditch  with  them. 
American  tanks  on  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road  lent  their  support  and  in 
conjunction  with  the  rifle  companies,  laid  down  such  intense  fire  the 
enemy  attack  was  halted.  Having  suffered  heavy  casualties,  the  German 
counterattacking  force  slowly  withdrew. 

Following  this,  orders  were  received  to  comb  Untersie  Busch  Woods. 
Just  before  dark  the  battalion  moved  forward  with  Company  B  on 
the  right,  Company  A  in  the  center,  and  Company  C  on  the  left.  They 
completed  the  task  without  difficulty  and  reestablished  contact  with  the 
3d  Battalion,  301st,  on  the  left.  Information  was  then  received  from 
regiment  that  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  was  to  effect  a  relief  prior  to 
midnight.  Accordingly,  each  of  the  1st  Battalion  rifle  companies  sent 
guides  to  the  woods  east  of  Nennig,  to  lead  forward  the  relieving 
troops.  By  2100  hours,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston's  men  were  in 
position.  As  the  1st  Battalion  moved  to  the  rear  and  regimental  reserve, 
German  artillery  harassed  the  area,  adding  to  the  battalion's  heavy  toll 
of  casualties. 

Into  Sinz 

Prior  to  the  counterattack  that  was  launched  against  the  1st  Battal- 
ion, 376th,  as  it  was  preparing  to  attack  Sinz,  an  elaborate  artillery 
fire  support  plan  had  been  arranged  by  the  Division  artillery  to  sup- 


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173 


port  the  coordinated  assault  of  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  from  the  west 
and  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  from  the  south.  A  ten-minute  barrage 
was  to  be  placed  on  Sinz  and  the  pillboxes  southeast  of  town,  just  prior 
to  the  attack,  while  the  high  ground  to  the  north  of  the  objective  was 
smoked.  After  this  initial  barrage  one  battery  would  fire  on  the  boxes 
every  two  minutes.  As  the  2d  Battalion  jumped  off,  the  German 
counterattack  caught  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  at  the  line  of  departure, 
and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Norman's  men  moved  toward  Sinz  alone. 
Debouching  from  the  woods  they  moved  into  the  open  against  a  steady 
volume  of  enemy  artillery  and  small-arms  fire.  Captain  Griffin  of  Com- 
pany G  was  hit  by  a  shell  fragment  as  he  started  from  the  woods  and 
the  company  executive  officer,  Lieutenant  Peter  R.  Kelly,  took  com- 
mand. Ten  minutes  later  he  was  killed  by  a  burst  of  machine-gun 
fire.  A  few  minutes  later,  the  battalion  commander  was  wounded  and 
Major  Maixner  came  forward  to  assume  command.  Doggedly  the 
troops  advanced  in  the  face  of  the  enemy's  accurate  fire.  At  the  tank 
trap  running  south  across  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road,  west  of  town,  the 
leading  elements  of  each  company  halted,  waiting  for  the  rest  of  the 
company  to  arrive.  From  there  the  infantry  pushed  on  using  marching 
fire.  It  was  rough  going  and  the  troops  began  to  tire  as  they  alternately 
ran  and  crawled  towards  Sinz. 

An  American  tank  which  had  been  shooting  up  the  streets  of  Sinz 
mistook  the  men  of  Company  G  for  Germans  as  it  pulled  out  of  town. 
A  large  number  of  casualties  had  been  inflicted  before  Technical  Ser- 
geant Edward  P.  Regan  succeeded  in  working  his  way  to  the  side  of 
the  tank.  He  pounded  on  the  turret  with  his  rifle  butt  and,  yelling 
above  the  din,  managed  to  make  the  tankers  understand  their  mistake. 

Company  E,  on  the  left,  advanced  to  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road  and, 
taking  advantage  of  the  cover  of  the  ditch  along  the  road,  proceeded 
to  positions  from  which  they  could  fire  on  the  nearest  house  in  Sinz. 
When  German  sniper  fire  from  a  barn  temporarily  held  up  the  advance, 
Private  James  Guerrier  picked  up  a  light  machine  gun  and  fired  it  from 
his  hip.  His  tracers  set  fire  to  the  hay  in  the  barn,  which  began  to 
burn  rapidly;  Private  Guerrier  continued  to  spray  the  building  until 
his  ammunition  supply  was  exhausted.  He  then  turned  back  to  the 
nearest  tank  and  borrowed  two  more  belts  of  cartridges.  With  these, 
he  picked  off  the  Germans  as  they  ran  from  the  burning  barn. 

In  front  of  Company  G  an  enemy  tank  concealed  in  a  hay  stack 
stalled  the  unit's  advance.  Private  First  Class  Edward  D.  Yewell,  a 
bazooka  man,  worked  his  way  to  within  easy  firing  range  and  set  the 
stack  afire  with  his  first  round.  As  the  tankers  attempted  to  escape 


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from  their  burning  vehicle,  they  were  cut  down  by  the  supporting 
riflemen. 

Private  Clifford  R.  Macumber  was  the  first  man  to  enter  Sinz.  He 
tossed  a  grenade  into  the  nearest  house,  rushed  it  and  came  out  with 
eleven  prisoners.  Staff  Sergeant  Michael  Wichic  ran  up  the  road  to 
the  second  house  and,  while  completely  exposed  to  enemy  fire,  heaved 
a  white  phosphorus  grenade  into  a  second-story  window.  This  killed 
one  sniper  and  wounded  another.  The  sergeant  then  led  his  squad  into 
town.  As  he  was  advancing  against  another  house,  he  was  killed  by 
machine-gun  fire. 

Company  G,  in  gaining  its  toe-hold  in  Sinz,  had  lost  its  company 
commander,  company  executive  officer,  and  one  platoon  leader.  In 
Sinz,  Technical  Sergeant  Fred  A.  Drye  of  the  1st  Platoon  initially 
took  charge  of  the  newly  won  area.  Riflemen  collected  the  wounded 
and  carried  them  to  one  of  the  four  houses  in  American  hands,  where 
they  were  given  first  aid.  As  evening  approached,  it  was  decided  to 
withdraw  from  one  of  the  houses  which  was  approximately  three 
hundred  yards  in  advance  of  the  other  three.  Before  this  building  was 
abandoned,  it  was  set  on  fire  to  deny  it  to  the  enemy  and  to  provide 
light  in  the  event  of  an  enemy  counterattack  during  the  night. 

Lieutenant  Harry  J.  Lewies  of  Company  E  took  charge  of  activities 
in  Sinz  when  he  entered  town.  Before  dark  he  asked  for  two  volunteers 
to  cross  the  one  thousand  yards  of  open  ground  that  separated  Sinz 
from  the  nearest  elements  of  the  battalion  as  there  was  neither  radio 
nor  wire  communications  and  it  was  vital  that  battalion  know  the 
existing  situation  inside  the  town.  Private  First  Class  Mark  D.  Atchin- 
son  and  Private  First  Class  Orleane  A.  Jacobson  accepted  the  task  and 
were  given  snowsuits  taken  from  two  of  the  captured  Germans.  They 
made  the  trip  safely,  noting  where  the  wounded  lay  as  they  made  their 
way  back.  After  reporting  to  the  command  post,  both  men  led  litter 
squads  back  to  the  wounded  and  helped  in  their  evacuation.  Private 
First  Class  Jacobson  became  a  casualty  himself  while  engaged  in  this 
work. 

When  Major  Maixner  took  stock  of  the  situation,  he  found  that 
the  two  companies  in  Sinz  had  a  combined  strength  of  less  than  a 
single  full-strength  unit.  Moreover,  Company  F,  the  battalion  reserve, 
was  down  to  sixty  effectives.  This  information  was  relayed  to  Colonel 
McClune  and  the  regimental  commander  of  the  376th  instructed  the 
2d  Battalion  to  hold  what  it  had  and  reorganize.  Eighty  men  from 
the  376th's  Antitank  Company  were  armed  as  riflemen  and  attached  to 
Major  Maixner.  Also,  half-tracks  were  provided  for  the  evacuation  of 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


thirty  seriously  wounded  in  Sinz.  Colonel  McClune  next  instructed  the 
CO  of  the  7th  Armored  Infantry  Battalion  which  had  come  under  his 
command  to  proceed  to  the  2d  Battalion  forward  CP  to  confer  with 
Major  Maixner.  Together  the  battalion  commanders  planned  a  new 
attack  for  the  following  day. 

At  0200  hours,  Lieutenant  James  W.  O'Keefe,  commanding  Com- 
pany E,  was  called  to  the  battalion  command  post  and  given  instruc- 
tions for  the  offensive  that  was  to  be  launched  the  following  day  to 
clear  Sinz.  Major  Maixner's  men  and  the  7th  AIB  were  to  attack 
together,  with  the  armored  infantrymen  taking  the  left  of  town  and 
the  2d  Battalion  the  right.  No  sooner  had  Lieutenant  O'Keefe  departed 
for  Sinz  with  the  attack  plan  than  orders  were  received  to  the  effect 
that  the  Division  had  lost  the  use  of  CCA  whose  forty-eight  hours  of 
battle  indoctrination  had  elapsed.  Regardless  of  the  tactical  situation 
the  tanks  were  to  be  withdrawn.  In  view  of  this  development,  the 
Division  Commander  issued  instructions  to  pull  back  from  Sinz,  since 
it  could  not  be  held  without  armored  support.  This  was  done  and  a 
new  defensive  position  was  organized  in  the  woods  to  the  southwest 
prior  to  daylight. 


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Chapter  20:  INTERIM 


^r^TTITH  THE  WITHDRAWAL  OF  CCA  of  the  8th  Armored 
Division,  General  Malony  perforce  abandoned  plans  for  ex- 
V  v  ploiting  with  armor  a  breach  through  the  Switch  position. 
Unit  commanders  were  informed  that  the  Division  was  to  hold  and 
consolidate  what  it  had  gained,  but  in  the  meantime  the  terrain  was 
to  be  studied  with  a  view  to  a  continuation  of  the  offensive  after  the 
newly  arrived  reinforcements  had  been  integrated.  G-3  was  instructed 
to  issue  orders  for  the  regrouping  of  the  regiments  and  the  untangling 
of  their  scrambled  battalions.  Subsequently,  the  1st  Battalion,  301st, 
relieved  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  which  had  been  operating  under  the 
command  of  Colonel  Johnson,  on  the  extreme  left  flank  of  the  division. 
In  turn,  the  latter  battalion  relieved  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  in  its 
positions  in  the  woods  southwest  of  Sinz.  Upon  completion  of  this 
phase  of  the  relief  the  concerned  battalions  reverted  to  the  control 
of  their  respective  regimental  commanders.  The  3d  Battalion,  301st, 
remained  in  position  along  the  south  edge  of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road, 
northeast  of  Nennig,  as  Colonel  Hagerty's  regiment  was  in  process 
of  taking  over  the  left  of  the  Division  line.  The  302d  Infantry  was 
to  hold  the  Division  right  flank  and  the  376th  to  move  into  reserve. 
Second  Battalion,  301st,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Colonel  Francis 
Dohs,  remained  on  the  Division's  right  flank,  in  the  vicinity  of  Busch- 
dorf  and  Hellendorf,  temporarily  attached  to  the  302d.  Early  on  the 
morning  of  the  29th,  this  battalion  was  relieved  by  elements  of  the 
2d  and  3d  Battalions  of  the  302d  and  returned  to  Colonel  Hagerty's 
control  the  same  evening.  By  0100  hours  the  following  morning,  the 
2d  Battalion,  301st,  had  relieved  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  and  Com- 
panies A  and  C  of  the  302d.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Martin's  battalion 
of  the  376th  joined  the  rest  of  the  regiment  at  the  Division  reserve 
area  in  Veckring  while  Company  C  went  into  battalion  reserve  and 
Company  A  took  positions  to  the  east  of  Campholz  Woods,  on  the 
right  of  the  other  rifle  company  of  the  1st  Battalion  of  the  302d.  Thus 
by  the  30th,  all  elements  of  Colonel  McClune's  regiment  were  out  of 
the  line  and  the  Division  front  from  west  to  east  was  held  as  follows: 
1st  Battalion,  301st;  3d  Battalion,  301st;  2d  Battalion,  301st,  in  Colonel 
Hagerty's  sector;  and  1st  Battalion,  302d;  3d  Battalion,  302d;  2d  Bat- 
talion, 302d,  in  Colonel  Johnson's  area.  Scarcely  had  the  Division 
completed  the  relief  of  the  376th  Infantry  when  orders  were  received 
from  the  CG  of  XX  Corps  for  a  resumption  of  limited-objective  attacks. 
The  only  restriction  imposed  by  higher  headquarters  was  that  the  forces 
employed  were  not  to  exceed  one  regimental  combat  team. 


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SCHLOSS  BUBINGEN 


In  the  fighting  that  had  followed  the  original  seizure  of  Nennig, 
Berg  and  Wies  ground  had  been  taken,  lost  and  retaken.  Just  to  the 
north  of  the  village  of  Wies,  across  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road,  was  a 
large  castle  known  as  Schloss  Bubingen.  During  previous  attacks  by 
the  Division  in  this  sector,  intense  mortar  and  artillery  fire  had  been 
received  from  the  area  north  of  this  Schloss  and  there  were  strong 
indications  that  the  enemy  was  using  the  building  as  an  OP.  Further- 
more, it  was  well  known  that  the  castle  was  an  assembly  point  for 
numerous  counterattacks  that  had  been  launched  at  Nennig.  There- 
fore, it  was  decided  that  the  Schloss  should  be  taken  and  the  task 
was  assigned  to  the  reconstituted  1st  Battalion,  301st,  which  had 
suffered  so  heavily  at  Orsholz. 

Company  A  was  designated  to  make  the  attack  and  an  artillery 
preparation  arranged.  One  self-propelled  155mm  gun  from  XX  Corps' 
558th  Field  Artillery  Battalion  was  to  lend  close  support.  About  mid- 
morning  of  the  28th,  the  company,  led  by  Lieutenant  Harrison  H. 
Walker,  moved  from  its  reserve  position  toward  the  northern  edge  of 
Wies.  The  self-propelled  gun  advanced  to  within  150  yards  of  the 
castle,  then  opened  fire  against  the  thick  stone  walls.  Meanwhile, 
under  cover  of  a  heavy  artillery  concentration  the  2d  Platoon,  closely 
followed  by  the  1st,  moved  straight  toward  their  objective.  After  about 
a  dozen  rounds  had  been  thrown  against  the  castle  by  the  155,  its  crew 
shifted  fire  to  adjoining  buildings.  Swinging  to  the  right,  the  2d  Pla- 
toon moved  against  the  castle  from  the  flank,  while  the  1st  Platoon, 
under  Technical  Sergeant  George  Montgomery,  pushed  to  the  left. 

Lieutenant  Walker  and  his  men  moved  in  fast.  Attempting  to  rush 
the  front  door  of  the  castle  the  platoon  leader  was  met  by  a  hail  of 
automatic-weapons  fire.  The  lieutenant  was  wounded  and  most  of  the 
platoon  held  up.  Five  men  did  manage  to  storm  into  the  Schloss  on 
this  rush,  but  were  soon  bottled  up  in  one  room  by  the  enemy  inside 
the  building. 

Meanwhile,  Sergeant  Montgomery  and  the  2d  Platoon  had  encoun- 
tered heavy  machine-gun  fire  and  taken  shelter  against  a  blank  wall 
of  the  castle.  Each  time  the  men  attempted  to  round  the  corner  of 
the  building,  they  were  stopped  by  enemy  fire.  It  was,  therefore, 
decided  to  breach  the  wall  of  the  Schloss  and  word  was  sent  to  battal- 
ion requesting  three  hundred  pounds  of  demolition  materiel.  While 
these  were  being  brought  forward,  the  platoon  employed  the  means  it 
had  at  its  disposal  against  the  wall  of  the  castle.  A  satchel  charge 


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T  OF  MICHIGAN 


182 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


search  but  found  no  trace  of  other  enemy  groups.  Security  was  posted 
and  the  platoons  prepared  to  resist  any  counterattack  that  might 
develop.  A  short  time  later,  a  large  German  patrol  was  observed 
advancing  toward  the  castle.  The  machine  gunners  opened  fire,  pinning 
the  Germans  to  the  ground,  and  mortar  fire  was  brought  to  bear.  Thus, 
the  counterattack  was  eliminated  before  it  actually  began. 

In  the  area  of  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  prior  to  the  relief  by  Lieu- 
tenant Colonel  Dohs'  men  on  the  morning  of  the  30th,  Lieutenant 
Colen  C.  Robinson,  commanding  Company  C,  had  organized  a  peri- 
meter defense  in  Tettingen  while  Company  A,  reinforced  by  the  1st 
Platoon  of  Company  C,  held  the  battered  town  of  Butzdorf.  Company 
B  under  Captain  Woods  was  outposting  the  town  of  Borg.  The  weather 
was  at  its  worst.  Freezing  temperatures  and  constant  enemy  shelling 
made  life  both  miserable  and  hazardous.  Heavy  shell  fire  constantly 
interrupted  communications  and  caused  frequent  casualties  among  the 
wire-repair  teams.  After  dark  each  night,  the  one  hot  meal  of  the 
day  was  brought  forward  to  the  rifle  companies.  On  the  29th,  Captain 
Woods  received  orders  to  seize  the  southeast  tip  of  Campholz  Woods 
which  was  in  his  sector.  This  mission  was  assigned  to  Lieutenant 
Edwin  R.  Bloom's  2d  Platoon,  which  moved  out  after  dark  that  night 
and  secured  the  objective  without  difficulty. 

When  the  2d  Battalion,  301st  Infantry,  took  over  the  positions  in 
the  Tettingen-Butzdorf  area,  Company  E,  commanded  by  Captain 
Walter  J.  Stokstad,  went  into  a  defensive  position  in  Untersie  Busch 
and  the  woods  southwest  of  Sinz  supported  by  the  heavy  machine  guns 
of  Lieutenant  Walter  J.  Mulhall,  Jr.  The  1st  and  2d  Platoons  of  Com- 
pany G  plus  a  section  of  LMGs  moved  into  Butzdorf  and  the  remain- 
der of  the  company  took  over  Tettingen.  Company  F  was  designated 
as  battalion  reserve  and  remained  in  Wochern  where  the  battalion  CP 
was  located. 

The  area  between  Tettingen  and  Butzdorf  was  still  hazardous  during 
daylight  hours  as  the  enemy  had  unobstructed  observation  over  this 
ground  and  his  weapons  were  perfectly  zeroed  on  it.  Plans  were  laid 
almost  immediately  after  the  completion  of  the  relief  for  the  reduction 
of  the  pillboxes  northeast  of  Tettingen  from  which  a  good  deal  of 
the  mortar  fire  descending  on  the  two  towns  was  being  received. 

Lieutenant  Richard  H.  Meyers'  1st  Platoon  was  withdrawn  from 
Butzdorf  and  charged  with  knocking  out  these  boxes.  An  attempt 
was  made  after  dark  the  first  night  but  in  the  utter  blackness  the 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


platoon  stumbled  into  an  extensive  minefield.  After  the  platoon  leader 
and  four  men  became  casualties  the  group  was  forced  to  withdraw 
because  of  loss  of  control.  The  following  day  the  platoon  sergeant 
Technical  Sergeant  Tom  R.  Parkinson,  led  a  successful  assault  on  these 
same  bunkers.  With  the  assistance  of  men  of  Company  A,  319th 
Engineers,  the  assault  group  approached  the  main  box  from  its  blind 
side.  As  the  infantry  came  within  striking  distance,  mortar  fire  which 
had  been  keeping  the  pillbox  buttoned  up  was  lifted  and  automatic- 
weapons  fire  was  employed  to  keep  the  vision  slits  of  the  bunker  closed. 
The  engineers  moved  a  sixty-foot  bangalore  torpedo  into  position  and 
with  this  breached  a  lane  through  the  minefield.  Then  the  assault 
group  rushed  forward,  reducing  the  position  with  satchel  charges  and 
grenades. 

Frost  bite  and  trench  foot  which,  in  spite  of  every  precaution,  dogged 
the  94th  from  its  initial  day  on  the  Western  Front,  continued  to  take 
their  toll  of  casualities.  In  the  section  of  the  line  held  by  the  3d 
Battalion,  301st,  the  water  level  was  only  four  inches  below  the  surface 
of  the  ground.  As  a  consequence,  it  was  almost  impossible  far  the  men 
to  keep  dry.  Within  a  matter  of  three  or  four  hours  an  unbailed  fox- 
hole would  fill  to  within  several  inches  of  the  rim.  Moreover,  the 
constantly  alternating  pattern  of  snow  and  bitter  cold,  rain  and  mud 
sapped  the  vitality  of  the  troops.  To  increase  the  efficiency  of  the 
riflemen  and  make  life  a  bit  more  bearable,  regiment  issued  orders 
that  each  company  in  this  battalion  would  maintain  a  rest-house  in 
the  town  of  Nennig.  Through  these  houses,  so  far  as  possible,  the 
men  of  the  rifle  companies  were  rotated.  At  the  "hash  houses"  there 
were  dry  shoes  and  socks,  hot  food  and  coffee  and  comfortable  mat- 
tresses in  a  deep  cellar.  This  system  assured  each  infantryman  in  the 
line  at  least  one  hot  meal  a  day  and  the  opportunity  for  a  few  hours 
of  warmth  and  comfort. 


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Chapter  21:  CAMPHOLZ  WOODS 


AT  PILLINGERHOF,  the  battalion  reserve  position,  the  men  and 
P\  officers  of  Company  C  of  the  302d  relaxed  and  sweated  out 
jljSl  their  next  assignment.  During  their  stay  in  Tettingen,  they 
had  heard  and  observed  enemy  patrols  and  security  outposts  in  the 
northern  edge  of  Campholz  Woods  about  one  thousand  yards  to  the 
east.  Frequently  mortar  and  artillery  fire  had  been  placed  on  the  woods 
with  gratifying  results.  Because  of  its  position  it  was  obvious  that 
this  patch  of  woods  would  have  to  be  reduced;  the  grape-vine  carried 
rumors  that  Company  C  was  to  be  handed  the  job. 

Early  on  the  evening  of  the  31st,  Captain  Robert  L.  Woodburn, 
battalion  S-3,  appeared  at  the  company  command  post  and  gave  Lieu- 
tenant Robinson  a  warning  order  for  an  attack  the  following  morning. 
The  S-3  said  he  would  return  at  about  2100  hours  with  details.  Though 
no  objective  had  been  mentioned,  as  soon  as  Captain  Woodburn  de- 
parted, the  officers  began  to  study  aerial  photographs  of  Campholz. 
When  the  captain  returned  later  in  the  evening,  rumor  had  become 
fact. 

At  battalion  headquarters  information  concerning  the  location  of 
enemy  minefields  in  Campholz  Woods  was  urgently  needed.  Accord- 
ingly, on  the  night  of  the  31st,  Lieutenant  Joseph  E.  Glover  of  the 
I&R  Platoon  was  ordered  to  reconnoiter  the  antitank  ditch  in  the 
woods.  With  a  party  of  eleven  men  the  platoon  leader  passed  through 
Lieutenant  Bloom's  position  at  the  southern  edge  of  Campholz  shortly 
after  midnight  and  worked  his  way  through  the  pitch-black  woods  to 
the  tank  trap.  After  an  extensive  search  failed  to  reveal  the  presence 
of  mines,  the  I&R  men  began  their  return.  As  the  patrol  moved  south 
toward  Company  B's  position  at  the  base  of  the  woods,  an  enemy 
outpost  discovered  it.  One  I&R  man,  Technician  Fifth  Grade  John  J. 
Centrello,  was  killed  and  four  others  captured  before  the  remainder 
of  the  group  was  able  to  disengage  and  infiltrate  to  Lieutenant  Bloom's 
lines.  Lieutenant  Glover  promptly  reported  the  results  of  his  recon- 
naissance to  the  CO  of  Company  C. 

After  a  hot  breakfast,  the  troops  of  Company  C  moved  from  Pillin- 
gerhof  at  0400  hours,  on  February  1,  1945.  They  marched  up  the  icy 
road  to  Borg  where  demolitions  were  stacked  and  waiting.  These 
were  distributed  amofig  the  men  and  the  unit  moved  through  town 
led  by  the  company  commander  and  First  Sergeant  Jerome  Eisler. 
Beyond  Borg  Company  C,  in  single  file  with  plenty  of  interval  between 
men,  turned  west  and  moved  toward  the  woods.  The  company  crossed 
the  open  ground  without  incident  and  quickly  deployed  along  the  south 
edge  of  Campholz.  The  formation  prescribed  placed  the  3d  Platoon 

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there  was  the  slightest  opportunity  to  take  cover.  Throughout  the  rest 
of  the  day  and  all  night  long,  the  Germans  continued  to  pound  the 
woods.  Casualties  were  heavy  because  of  the  number  of  tree  bursts, 
though  four  men  were  killed  by  direct  hits.  During  the  night,  Com- 
pany B  moved  forward  and  assumed  responsibility  for  the  eastern  half 
of  the  woods  as  far  north  as  the  communication  trench.  The  fire  break 
that  ran  north  and  south  through  the  center  of  Campholz  was  used  as 
the  boundary  between  companies. 

Plans  called  for  a  resumption  of  the  attack  the  following  morning 
to  take  the  north  half  of  the  woods.  Lieutenant  Charles  F.  Ehrenberg 
of  the  301st  Field  Artillery  arranged  for  a  ten-minute  preparation  on 
the  antitank  ditch  which  in  some  places  was  only  fifty  yards  from  the 
communication  trench.  At  0850  hours,  the  artillery  came  in  on  the 
nose.  In  the  communication  trench  the  riflemen  crouched  and  waited. 
While  their  supporting  artillery  crashed  in  front  of  the  company  line, 
German  mortar  and  artillery  shells  fell  on  and  behind  them. 

At  0900  hours,  the  companies  rose  and  moved  forward.  Light  and 
heavy  machine  guns,  BARs,  Schmeissers  and  MG42s  added  their  clatter 
to  the  noise  of  the  artillery.  The  troops  struggled  forward  and  into 
the  antitank  ditch  which  proved  a  considerable  obstacle.  This  ditch  was 
twelve  feet  across  and  twenty  feet  deep  with  a  muddy,  slippery  bottom. 
As  Staff  Sergeant  Jack  Cox  scrambled  out  of  the  tank  trap,  he  came 
face  to  face  with  one  of  the  four  hastily  emplaced  German  machine 
guns  that  had  been  delivering  fire  against  the  company  as  it  advanced. 
Without  a  wasted  motion,  the  sergeant  killed  one  of  the  gunners, 
wounded  a  second  and  took  the  third  prisoner. 

The  3d  Platoon  of  Company  B  which  had  swung  to  the  right  to  take 
a  huge  six-room  pillbox,  stalled  after  the  NCO  leading  the  unit  was 
killed  by  sniper  fire.  When  Captain  Woods  came  to  the  platoon  it 
was  deployed  around  the  pillbox  but  making  no  headway.  Under  the 
direction  of  the  company  commander  the  attack  was  resumed.  Firing 
ports  of  the  box  were  buttoned  up  and  a  beehive  charge  detonated  on 
one  of  the  apertures.  Into  the  resulting  hole  a  white  phosphorus  gre- 
nade was  tossed.  Shortly  thereafter,  a  German  captain  and  the  fifteen 
men  manning  the  position  surrendered.  The  pillbox  was  then  employed 
as  the  Company  CP.  The  attack  continued  and  when  the  1st  and  3d 
Platoons  of  Company  B  reached  the  northern  edge  of  the  woods,  the 
2d  Platoon,  under  Staff  Sergeant  Stanley  J.  Kurek,  was  brought  forward 
to  fill  the  gap  which  had  developed  between  the  assault  echelons. 

Company  C,  charged  with  clearing  the  woods  in  its  zone,  seized  two 


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CAMPHOLZ  WOODS 


189 


pillboxes  on  the  northwestern  edge  of  the  woods  as  it  moved  north 
from  the  antitank  ditch.  The  advance  was  slowed  by  the  presence  of 
numerous  antipersonnel  mines  but  by  noon  of  the  2d,  the  woods  were 
entirely  cleared.  Company  C  had  rounded  up  some  seventy-five  pris- 
oners and  Captain  Wood's  men  accounted  for  an  additional  fifty.  These 
PWs  were  used  effectively  as  litter  bearers  as  they  filed  to  the  rear. 

Shortly  after  dark,  Company  A  moved  from  reserve  to  relieve  Lieu- 
tenant Robinson's  men.  Darkness,  mines  and  enemy  artillery  so  slowed 
the  relief  it  was  not  completed  until  0400  hours  the  following  morn- 
ing. Due  to  an  oversight,  Company  A  was  not  guided  to  a  captured 
concrete  bunker  northwest  of  the  woods  which  the  Germans  had  used 
as  an  OP.  Reduction  of  this  fortification  by  Company  C  had  been  a 
costly  affair  and  preparations  for  blowing  it  were  started,  but  not 
completed,  prior  to  the  relief.  Unfortunately,  it  was  not  manned 
by  the  relieving  troops.  By  daylight  of  the  3d,  the  enemy  had  re- 
occupied  it. 

On  the  right  of  the  line,  Company  B  held  its  positions  and  patiently 
waited  its  turn  for  relief.  The  area  surrounding  the  pillbox  used  by 
Captain  Woods  as  a  CP  was  heavily  mined  and  on  the  night  of  the 
3d  a  report  was  received  that  there  was  a  wounded  man  in  a  minefield 
in  the  vicinity  of  the  antitank  ditch.  One  man  was  sent  from  the 
command  post  to  assist  the  medics  in  his  evacuation.  As  this  soldier 
approached  the  ditch,  he  stepped  on  a  Schii  mine  which  detonated  and 
killed  him.  This  same  mine  again  wounded  the  injured  man  and 
three  others,  knocking  them  into  the  antitank  ditch.  Technician  Third 
Grade  John  Asmussen,  a  medic,  summoned  more  assistance  and  moved 
all  four  of  the  wounded  into  the  pillbox.  There  by  candle  light  he 
administered  first  aid  which  was  instrumental  in  saving  the  lives  of 
the  two  more  seriously  wounded. 

Evacuation  of  these  wounded  was  the  next  problem.  The  Germans 
had  a  mortar  position  so  close  to  the  pillbox  they  could  hear  the  open- 
ing and  closing  of  the  steel  door  of  the  bunker,  and  their  weapon 
was  zeroed  on  Company  B's  command  post.  Once  during  the  preced- 
ing day,  they  had  actually  lobbed  a  shell  inside  the  door  which  faced 
their  position.  To  facilitate  the  evacuation,  it  was  decided  to  employ 
artillery  fire  on  the  mortar  position,  which  had  been  accurately  located 
by  observing  its  flash.  This  fire  proved  effective  and  Chaplain  Edward 
H.  Harrison  and  Sergeant  Asmussen,  with  the  assistance  of  several 
riflemen,  removed  the  wounded  to  the  rear. 

On  the  morning  of  the  4th,  Company  C  moved  into  the  lines  again, 
taking  over  Company  B's  positions,  and  Captain  Woods'  men  returned 
to  battalion  reserve. 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


To  Lieutenant  Joseph  F.  Concannon,  battalion  supply  officer,  and  his 
assistant,  Sergeant  Robert  H.  Fluch,  fell  the  difficult  task  of  resupply- 
ing  the  companies  in  Campholz  Woods.  Halftracks  were  borrowed 
from  the  465th  AAA  Battalion  and  with  these  the  dangerous  run  from 
Borg  to  the  woods  was  made  during  daylight  hours.  Time  and  again 
these  vehicles  ran  the  gantlet  of  fire  under  direct  observation  of  the 
enemy  with  nothing  but  luck  and  speed  for  protection.  At  night  a 
Weasel  was  used  and  in  this  vehicle  the  hot  food  for  the  line 
companies  was  brought  forward. 

On  the  morning  of  the  3d,  Lieutenant  Carl  J.  Baumgaertner  and  a 
patrol  of  four  men  tackled  the  German  bunker  three  hundred  yards 
west  of  Campholz  Woods.  Because  of  the  darkness  and  fog  they 
experienced  some  difficulty  in  finding  the  box.  Finally,  German  voices 
were  heard  and  the  bunker  thus  located.  When  the  men  had  been 
deployed,  a  hand  grenade  was  thrown  and  Lieutenant  Baumgaertner, 
who  speaks  fluent  German,  informed  the  enemy  they  were  surrounded 
and  must  surrender  or  a  flame  thrower  would  be  used.  (The  patrol 
had  no  flame  thrower.)  Thirteen  prisoners  meekly  filed  out  of  the 
emplacement. 

At  2300  hours  on  the  night  of  the  4th,  Lieutenant  Baumgaertner 
led  another  group  against  the  OP  bunker  that  the  enemy  had  reoccu- 
pied.  This  concrete  box  had  sweeping  observation  over  the  terrain 
from  Tettingen  to  Pillingerhof  and  it  was  so  situated,  it  was  almost 
impossible  for  the  attackers  to  approach  the  emplacement  without  ex- 
posing themselves.  With  little  difficulty  the  enemy  drove  back  the 
Company  A  patrol.  When  Lieutenant  Baumgaertner  and  his  men 
returned  from  this  unsuccessful  attempt,  they  were  informed  that  a 
second  effort  would  have  to  be  made  at  0400  hours,  using  the  whole 
platoon.  This  meant  the  platoon  had  to  remain  behind  when  Company 
A  was  relieved  during  the  night. 

To  assist  the  second  attempt,  plans  were  made  for  a  heavy  artillery 
preparation.  This  supporting  fire  fell  on  schedule,  chewing  up  the 
ground  around  the  bunker,  and  as  it  lifted  the  platoon  rushed  forward 
to  within  ten  yards  of  the  position.  A  vicious  grenade  battle  followed, 
but  the  platoon  was  repulsed.  They  withdrew  carrying  off  their 
wounded;  the  dead  had  to  be  abandoned. 

On  the  4th  of  February,  Major  Warren  F.  Stanion  assumed  command 
of  the  1st  Battalion;  Captain  Woods  became  battalion  executive  officer; 
and  Lieutenant  Joseph  Wancio  took  Company  B.  The  following  after- 


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CAMPHOLZ  WOODS  191 

noon  Company  C  received  orders  to  exchange  positions  with  Company 
B  and  to  be  prepared  to  jump  off  against  the  OP  bunker.  After  some 
difficulty  this  shift  was  made,  following  which  the  scheduled  attack 
was  launched  preceded  by  a  fifteen  minute  artillery  preparation  fired 
by  the  301st  Field  Artillery  Battalion.  At  one  point  the  preparation 
had  to  be  lifted  after  five  minutes  as  it  was  so  powerful,  confined  to 
such  a  small  area,  and  brought  so  close  to  the  American  lines  that  it 
began  to  affect  the  troops  waiting  to  attack.  At  approximately  1700 
hours  Company  C  moved  forward  supported  by  engineers  from  Com- 
pany B  of  the  319th.  Again  enemy  resistance  was  fierce  and  stubborn. 
Newly  laid  Schii  mines  were  plentiful  contributing  greatly  to  the  num- 
ber of  casualties.  With  the  coming  of  nightfall  it  was  evident  that  the 
attack  would  not  succeed.  The  troops  were  pulled  back  into  the  woods. 

During  the  night  of  the  5th-6th,  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  moved  from 
the  east  flank  of  the  Division  line  and  relieved  Major  Stanion's  ex- 
hausted companies.  After  the  ill-fated  attempt  on  Sinz,  Major  Maix- 
ner's  battalion  had  been  relieved  on  the  29th  by  the  2d  Battalion, 
376,  and  as  the  depleted  companies  began  the  long  march  to  the  rear 
they  were  repeatedly  shelled,  suffering  additional  casualties.  Many 
of  the  men  were  so  crippled  with  trench  foot  that  walking  was  sheer 
agony.  The  battalion  command  post  had  been  set  up  at  Wehingen 
.and  the  companies  moved  in  Nohn  and  Unter  Tiinsdorf  where  they 
rested  and  reinforced.  In  Company  G  there  remained  only  forty-five 
of  the  156  men  who  had  moved  against  Sinz  on  the  25th.  While  in 
this  area  the  battalion  patrolled  actively  and  maintained  contact  with 
the  3d  Cavalry  on  the  Division's  right.  Two  unsuccessful  attempts 
were  made  by  Companies  E  and  G  to  capture  pillboxes  in  front  of 
the  fortified  town  of  Orsholz.  Both  of  these  attacks  resulted  in  addi- 
tional casualties.  Also,  the  troops  continued  to  suffer  from  the  extreme 
cold.  In  one  of  the  above  attacks  rifles  actually  froze  and  refused  to 
function. 

When  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  completed  its  relief  in  Campholz 
Woods,  Company  E  held  the  western  half  of  the  woods  with  Com- 
pany G  on  its  right,  holding  the  eastern  section.  Company  H's  heavy 
machine  guns  moved  into  the  woods  to  support  the  infantry  while 
the  81s  went  into  position  to  defend  Butzdorf.  Through  Campholz 
Woods,  the  engineers  cleared  additional  paths  and  these  were  marked 
with  white  tape  to  serve  as  guides. 

The  first  and  most  important  task  that  faced  Major  Maixner  was 
the  reduction  of  the  OP  bunker,  that  had  withstood  the  repeated  attacks 


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prisoners  were  taken  and  these  were  sent  to  the  rear  under  guard. 
Leaving  two  men  to  garrison  the  bunker,  the  remainder  of  the  assault 
group  pushed  forward,  only  to  meet  heavy  and  accurate  artillery  fire. 
When  a  shell  killed  two  and  wounded  four  of  the  small  group  they 
decided  to  pull  back.  As  they  returned  with  the  wounded,  a  second 
bunker  was  located  and  taken.  It  netted  thirteen  more  prisoners. 

When  the  progress  of  this  thrust  was  reported  to  Major  Maixner, 
who  had  come  to  Tettingen  with  Captain  Clair  H.  Stevens,  his  artillery 
liaison  officer,  he  ordered  elements  of  Company  E  to  withdraw  from 
Campholz  Woods  and  join  him.  Lieutenant  Lewies  and  Lieutenant 
James  W.  Butler  brought  their  platoons  into  Wochern  by  kitchen 
trucks  and  from  there  marched  into  Tettingen.  Both  platoons  were 
then  worked  forward  to  the  boxes  that  had  been  taken  by  Lieutenant 
Hunter's  men.  The  artillery  fire  that  was  to  support  this  new  assault 
failed  to  materialize  and  since  the  day  was  well  spent  it  was  decided 
to  jump  off  without  benefit  of  a  preparation.  Against  sustained  small- 
arms  and  mortar  fire  the  troops  attacked  and  by  darkness  had  taken 
one  more  bunker.  Continuation  of  the  advance  then  was  delayed  till 
the  next  morning;  a  patrol  was  sent  back  to  bring  wire  communications 
to  the  new  positions.  When  contact  with  battalion  was  established, 
the  platoons  of  Company  E  were  informed  they  would  be  relieved  by 
Company  F  and  were  instructed  to  return  to  Borg  subsequent  to  this 
relief. 

Five  days  had  now  elapsed  since  the  enemy  reoccupied  the  OP 
bunker.  Its  position  and  the  observation  available  to  the  Germans 
from  it  made  it  clear  that  it  had  to  be  re-taken  at  all  cost.  Higher 
headquarters  was  emphatic  on  this  point.  Major  Maixner  decided  to 
use  Company  G  in  the  next  attempt.  Lieutenant  Lewies'  platoon  along 
with  the  Ammunition  and  Pioneer  Platoon  of  the  Battalion  Head- 
quarters Company,  armed  as  riflemen,  moved  into  Campholz  and  took 
over  Company  Gs  positions.  Following  the  relief,  Captain  James  W. 
Griffin  assembled  his  company  in  the  southern  end  of  the  woods  in 
preparation  for  the  attack.  Total  strength  of  the  unit  came  to  only 
thirty-four  men.  The  engineers  provided  flame  throwers,  operators  and 
demolition  men  which  added  slightly  to  the  strength  of  the  assault 
group. 

The  first  Platoon  of  Company  G,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Ralph 
E.  Ginsburg,  was  to  circle  the  objective  and  attack  from  the  north. 
At  the  same  time,  elements  of  the  2d  Platoon  under  Staff  Sergeant 
Arthur  Ernst  were  to  approach  the  box  from  the  southeast,  using  the 
communication  trench  that  led  from  the  woods  to  the  OP  bunker.  The 


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195 


Company  G's  attack  moved  out  on  schedule  and  proceeded  accord- 
ing to  plan.  Sergeant  James  E.  Clark  with  the  1st  Platoon,  led  the 
final  rush  which  overwhelmed  the  objective.  While  the  box  yielded 
only  four  uninjured  prisoners,  the  enemy  lost  a  highly  valuable  point 
of  observation.  From  the  bunker,  the  men  looked  toward  Tettingen 
and  Campholz  in  amazement.  Both  town  and  woods  lay  below  them 
completely  visible.  The  accuracy  and  intensity  of  the  enemy  artillery 
fire  were  then  understandable.  That  Tettingen  had  ever  been  taken 
and  held  seemed  incredible. 

Meanwhile,  the  rest  of  the  2d  Platoon  and  the  3d  were  busy  farther 
to  the  west.  One  pjllbox  was  secured  without  a  fight  and  the  3d 
Platoon's  objective,  which  looked  formidable  on  an  aerial  photograph, 
proved  to  be  only  an  unoccupied  gun  position.  A  patrol  led  by  Lieu- 
tenant Oliver  K.  Smith  was  sent  to  reconnoiter  the  entire  area  and  the 
draw  to  the  north  of  the  newly  won  positions.  This  group  made  no 
contact  with  the  enemy.  Concurrently,  Company  G  occupied  the  cap- 
tured fortifications  and  supporting  positions  were  dug  surrounding 
them. 

Late  on  the  afternoon  of  the  8th,  Lieutenant  James  W.  Porter  of 
Company  B  of  the  319th  Engineers  led  forward  a  demolition  and  carry- 
ing party  to  destroy  the  newly  captured  pillboxes  and  bunkers.  This 
group  stumbled  into  a  Schii  mine  field  and  tripped  one  of  the  mines 
which  wounded  three  of  the  engineers.  A  rescue  party  led  by  Tech- 
nician Fifth  Grade  Robert  Cole  went  to  their  assistance.  As  they  were 
placing  one  of  the  wounded  on  a  litter,  a  second  mine  was  detonated. 
This  explosion  temporarily  blinded  Corporal  Cole.  Private  First  Class 
Curi  and  an  aid  man  with  the  group  were  also  wounded.  The  men 
called  for  help  and  a  second  party  led  by  Lieutenant  Porter  came  to 
their  aid.  Three  of  the  wounded,  including  Corporal  Cole,  were  re- 
moved from  the  minefield  without  further  accident.  Lieutenant  Porter, 
Private  First  Class  Weldon  J.  McCormack  and  an  aid  man  then  returned 
to  the  minefield.  It  was  almost  dark  and  visibility  was  extremely  poor. 
As  they  placed  another  wounded  man  on  the  litter,  the  aid  man  deto- 
nated a  third  mine.  This  explosion  killed  the  medic,  wounded  Lieu- 
tenant Porter  and  an  infantryman  who  had  volunteered  his  services. 
Despite  the  darkness,  Private  First  Class  McCormack  carried  the  officer 
and  the  infantryman  to  safety.  Though  nearly  exhausted,  McCormack 
returned  into  the  minefield,  made  his  way  to  Private  First  Class  Curi 
and  moved  him  some  fifty  yards  to  a  cleared  path  where  litter  bearers 
were  waiting. 


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Chapter  22:  SINZ-BANNHOLZ  ATTACK 


SINCE  THE  31st  of  January  when  XX  Corps  had  issued  instruc- 
tions to  General  Malony  to  resume  limited-objective  attacks 
employing  not  more  than  one  regimental  combat  team,  the  G-3 
section  had  been  drafting  and  redrafting  plans  for  a  new  offensive. 
When  finally  completed,  these  plans  called  for  a  drive  by  the  301st 
Infantry  to  seize  Sinz  and  Bannholz  Woods.  With  this  accomplished, 
the  376th  Infantry  was  to  move  from  the  Division  reserve  position  to 
assembly  areas  in  Bannholz  and  attack  to  the  east  to  seize  Munzingen 
Ridge  and  the  towns  of  Munzingen  and  Faha.  On  Division  order,  the 
302d  Infantry  was  to  be  prepared  to  move  from  Campholz  Woods 
and  capture  Oberleuken.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Noel  H.  Ellis,  the  Divi- 
sion Engineer,  made  plans  for  the  construction  of  a  road  from  Bann- 
holz Woods  over  Munzingen  Ridge  to  be  used  as  a  supply  route  once 
the  troops  had  gained  their  objectives.  This  plan  was  incorporated 
into  Division  Field  Order  No.  10  which  set  February  7,  1945  as  the 
day  of  attack.  On  the  6th,  the  provisions  of  this  plan  were  discussed 
at  length  at  a  conference  called  by  the  CG  and  attended  by  General 
Fortier,  General  Cheadle,  the  regimental  commanders  and  their  staffs. 

For  seven  days  the  three  battalions  of  the  301st  had  held  the  Divi- 
sion line  from  Schloss  Bubingen  to  the  Tettingen-Butzdorf  area.  These 
were  days  of  relative  inactivity  which  gave  both  men  and  officers  a 
chance  to  study  the  terrain  in  front  of  their  positions.  Colonel 
Hagerty's  plan  of  attack  called  for  a  forward  thrust  by  all  three 
battalions.  Major  Hodge's  1st  Battalion  on  the  left  of  the  line  was 
to  advance  and  seize  the  high  ground  some  seven  hundred  yards  to 
its  front.  The  3d  Battalion,  in  the  center,  was  to  cross  the  Sinz- 
Bubingen  road  and  push  to  the  north,  to  secure  this  route  as  a  lateral 
artery  for  supply  and  evacuation  from  Sinz.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Dohs' 
battalion  was  given  the  lion's  share  of  the  regimental  mission.  The 
2d  Battalion  was  to  seize  Sinz,  push  beyond  the  town  and  take  Bann- 
holz Woods. 

The  CO  of  the  2d  Battalion  decided  to  use  Companies  F  and  G  in 
the  assault  and  keep  Company  E  in  reserve.  Each  of  the  attacking 
companies  was  to  be  supported  by  a  platoon  of  heavy  machine  guns. 
Company  F's  HMGs  were  to  be  prepared  to  displace  to  Bannholz 
Woods  on  order  and  Company  G's  support  would  enter  Sinz  when 
summoned.  The  81mm  mortars  of  the  entire  regiment  were  to  assist 
the  assault  companies.  In  addition,  the  battalion  Antitank  Platoon, 
commanded  by  Lieutenant  William  W.  Schofield,  was  to  be  prepared 
to  move  into  Bannholz  to  repel  any  possible  counterattack  by  armor. 
A  special  combat  and  reconnaissance  platoon,  referred  to  as  com- 


196 


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^1 


/.LOit!^!',}'  •-v.is  !o  move  snijti)  (.»!'  die  roat}  bodcartg  Lbiiefsie  Bitsch, 
prepared  to  .1^1,,^  <:uhct  nl  rhe  dttatkmg  cowpjnic*  on  order  ftjf 


The  30 1  st  Camion ; 
>i  Baimhol*  r,r  (he 


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SINZ-BANNHOLZ  ATTACK 


199 


The  terrain  over  which  the  2d  Battalion  would  attack  was  formid- 
able. From  Untersie  Busch,  a  narrow  strip  of  dense  pine  forest  about 
seven  hundred  yards  west  of  Sinz  and  located  north  of  the  Sinz- 
Bubingen  road,  nearly  one  thousand  yards  of  open  ground  extended 
northeast  to  Bannholz  Woods.  To  the  north  of  Bannholz  was  a  pine- 
topped  hill  known  as  Geisbusch  Woods.  Between  the  latter  and  the 
northwest  edge  of  Bannholz  a  deep  ravine  curved  south  between  Bann- 
holz and  Untersie  Busch  and  then  ran  east.  The  bottom  of  this  draw 
was  marshy;  covered  with  occasional  clumps  of  shrub.  Aside  from  this 
it  offered  no  cover.  From  the  northeast  side  of  Untersie  Busch  to  the 
bottom  of  the  draw  was  three  hundred  yards  of  gentle  downhill  slope, 
covered  with  dense  undergrowth  which  offered  fairly  good  concealment. 
From  the  draw,  to  the  south  edge  of  Bannholz  the  gradual  uphill  slope 
provided  neither  cover  nor  concealment.  The  terrain  definitely  favored 
the  defense. 

Sinz  was  a  village  of  less  than  a  hundred  buildings.  It  was  situated 
in  the  center  of  a  saucer-like  piece  of  terrain  dominated  on  three  sides 
by  high  ground.  To  the  north  lay  Bannholz  Woods  and  to  the  east 
Munzingen  Ridge.  Liberally  sprinkled  over  the  slopes  of  the  ridge 
were  pillboxes  and  bunkers  of  the  Switch  line. 

On  the  night  of  the  5th  of  February,  Company  F  of  the  302d  relieved 
Company  G  of  the  301st  in  Tettingen  and  Butzdorf,  and  the  latter 
moved  to  Wochern  for  a  brief  rest.  At  the  same  time,  Company  E  of 
the  301st  relieved  the  remaining  company  of  the  2d  Battalion,  301st, 
in  the  woods  west  of  Sinz.  Company  F  also  moved  into  Wochern. 
The  following  day  was  spent  in  reconnaissance  and  in  making  last- 
minute  preparations  for  the  attack.  While  so  engaged,  Lieutenant 
Mulhall  of  Company  H  was  seriously  wounded  and  Technical  Ser- 
geant Parobeck  assumed  command  of  the  HMGs  which  were  to  sup- 
port Company  G.  For  the  2d  Battalion,  301st,  this  was  to  be  the  first 
real  test.  The  unit  was  confident  as  the  plan  had  been  worked  out  to 
the  last  detail  and  was  bound  to  click.  Early  on  the  morning  of  the 
7th  the  companies  entrucked,  moved  to  Besch  and  then  north  into 
Nennig.  There  the  men  dismounted  and  the  assault  companies  pro- 
ceeded to  their  forward  assembly  areas.  The  night  was  inky  black 
as  Company  F  under  Captain  Charles  H.  Sinclair  made  its  way  slowly 
into  Untersie  Busch.  Company  G,  under  Lieutenant  Knox  L.  Scales, 
and  a  portion  of  Headquarters  Company  moved  east  from  Nennig 
along  a  muddy  trail  in  column  of  twos.  Through  the  darkness  and 
the  knee-deep  mud,  each  man  kept  contact  by  holding  fast  to  the 


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■  1  ' 


..... 


>ack  of  the  man  w  front  of  him,  A  light  but  steady  rain  ms  falling, 


on  the  . I  me  '.of  depa  rture"  "a  scant  'trn  r 


adding  to  the  discomfort  of  the  march)  Finally  the  company  deployed 

■  h     minutes  ■'■before  H>hom\. 


artillery;  the  iiifaruty  Tnoved  for^-ard; 


just  a>tor  th?>  ntk pktoons "'fajd  cro.^d  tiri  footbrid*?e.s;  :i  heavv 


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mm  -^W*.  -  ,  .    .    .  Vwl>. 


it,  found  sr  unoccupied  and  moved  fo  the  .next  building.  About  seventy 
hvc  yards  from  town  the- 1  if-  Platoon'  was- hied  upon   They  \xere 


Following  the  eypioMoos  iin-  survivors  came  .an  on  the  double. 

With  the  silencing  ot  the  machine  <um>.  the  iMaux-r.  resumed 
its  advanced  As  the  noons  moved  un  the  te/r  sale  of  the  .street,  two 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


before  the  company  commander  arrived  with  Lieutenant  Sylvester 
Beyer,  forward  observer  from  the  356th  Field  Artillery.  A  concentra- 
tion was  placed  on  the  building  and  with  assistance  from  Lieutenant 
Christiansen's  platoon,  the  house  was  stormed  and  taken.  About  thirty 
prisoners  were  rounded  up  in  this  building  after  which  Lieutenant 
Scales  established  his  command  post  in  its  cellar.  Shortly  thereafter, 
the  2d  Platoon  cleared  its  section  of  town  taking  about  forty  prisoners 
in  doing  so. 

Captain  Sinclair's  men,  on  the  left  of  Company  G,  had  arrived  at 
their  line  of  departure  at  H  minus  30  and  deployed  for  the  attack. 
Sharply  at  0700  hours,  they  moved  against  Bannholz  Woods  which 
they  were  to  seize  in  order  to  prevent  the  enemy  from  reinforcing  Sinz 
from  that  direction.  As  the  1st  and  2d  Platoons,  which  were  in  the 
assault,  approached  the  woods  an  enemy  artillery  concentration  began 
to  land  to  their  front.  Shifting  to  the  west,  the  platoons  skirted  the 
artillery  and  entered  Bannholz.  The  2d  Platoon  and  its  attached 
machine-gun  section  took  positions  in  the  western  corner  of  the  woods. 
The  1st  Platoon  moved  east  while  the  3d  drove  forward  to  seize  the 
northern  portion  of  the  company  objective  and  clear  the  woods  of 
enemy  infantry. 

Lieutenant  Henry  J.  Smythe,  a  forward  observer  from  the  356th 
Field  Artillery,  and  Sergeant  Homer  Prewitt  were  with  Captain  Sinclair 
as  he  followed  the  3d  Platoon.  As  the  troops  advanced  Lieutenant 
Smythe  radioed  the  356th  and  told  them  to  "lift  Vinegar"  which  was 
the  code  designation  for  the  second  phase  line.  Abruptly  he  was 
informed  that  the  American  artillery  was  not  firing  it.  Obviously,  the 
enemy  figured  the  American  attack  into  Bannholz  was  an  attempt  to 
flank  Sinz  and  take  it  from  the  north,  since  it  was  they  who  were 
responsible  for  the  shelling. 

Visibility  within  the  woods  was  greatly  reduced  by  the  smoke  which 
was  drifting  down  from  Munzingen  Ridge.  As  the  riflemen  of  the 
3d  Platoon  continued  into  Bannholz  they  encountered  two  camouflaged 
enemy  tanks  concealed  in  the  underbrush.  A  bazooka  team  composed 
of  Private  First  Class  Curtis  C.  Darnell  and  Private  First  Class  Ernest 
Atencio  worked  its  way  to  within  thirty  yards  of  one  of  these  vehicles 
and  opened  fire.  Their  first  round  was  a  hit;  the  tank  began  to  with- 
draw. A  second  round  was  fired  and  a  puff  of  smoke  on  the  hull-line 
marked  the  point  of  impact.  Still  the  tank  continued  to  move.  Machine- 
gun  fire  from  the  second  panzer  raked  the  area.  Atencio  was  wounded 
in  the  neck  and  Private  First  Class  Stanley  Bock  took  his  place  as 


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loader.  As  Darnell  took  aim  at  this  second  tank,  the  muzzle  of  its 
88  swung  in  his  direction  and  lowered.  Both  the  bazooka  and  the  88 
fired  together.  The  tree  behind  which  the  bazookamen  huddled  was 
shattered,  and  fragments  of  wood  and  steel  splattered  about  the  little 
group.  With  three  hits  to  their  credit  and  no  damage  done  to  the 
tanks  the  men  pulled  back. 

In  the  western  edge  of  the  woods,  the  2d  Platoon  was  engaged  in 
digging  positions  when  the  smoke  lifted  momentarily.  Through  this 
break  in  the  haze,  a  German  tank  was  observed  moving  through  the 
woods  to  the  northwest.  As  the  men  watched,  a  second  tank  hove 
into  view  and  both  vehicles  moved  into  the  open  field  in  front  of  the 
platoon  to  spray  the  edge  of  the  woods  with  machine-gun  fire.  Artil- 
lery support  was  requested  but  there  was  no  fire  on  call.  It  had  been 
shifted  to  help  Company  G  in  Sinz.  Following  this,  the  platoon  and 
the  machine  gunners  withdrew  deeper  into  the  woods. 

Panzergrenadiers  supporting  the  tanks  of  the  4th  Panzer  Company 
began  to  appear  all  along  Captain  Sinclair's  front  and  the  tanks  them- 
selves continued  to  advance  slowly,  firing  their  88s.  The  company  was 
unable  to  stop  them  with  their  bazookas.  Lieutenant  Smythe  feared 
to  place  artillery  fire  on  the  woods  as  it  would  be  more  harmful  to 
Company  F  than  to  the  enemy  armor.  Therefore  the  company  com- 
mander informed  Lieutenant  Colonel  Dohs  of  his  plight  and  ordered  a 
general  withdrawal  to  the  line  of  departure. 

As  the  men  of  Company  F  filtered  back  through  the  woods  toward 
the  southern  tip  of  Bannholz,  the  situation  became  more  and  more 
confused.  The  machine  gunners  and  the  2d  Platoon  in  the  western 
portion  of  the  woods  failed  to  receive  word  of  the  withdrawal  and 
remained  in  place. 

Lieutenant  John  G.  Truels  of  the  Weapons  Platoon,  who  had  been 
wounded,  observed  German  infantry  coming  down  the  road  from  the 
northwest  of  Bannholz.  He,  his  machine  gunners  and  about  thirteen 
infantrymen  prepared  for  a  last-ditch  fight.  However,  the  enemy  infan- 
try did  not  enter  the  woods.  They  turned  and  moved  northeast  along 
a  trail  on  the  western  edge  of  the  timber. 

Meanwhile  the  rest  of  the  company  had  made  its  way  back  to  Unter- 
sie  Busch.  They  reported  that  the  only  Americans  remaining  in  the 
woods  were  dead.  Consequently,  Division  artillery  savagely  pounded 
Bannholz  with  heavy  concentrations.  The  twenty-one  Americans  in  the 
western  portion  of  the  woods,  three  of  whom  were  wounded,  lay  in 
the  mud  and  icy  water  not  daring  to  move  for  fear  of  discovery.  Ger- 
man tanks  and  infantry  milled  about  their  position.  At  one  time  the 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


enemy  held  a  conference  within  fifty  feet  of  them.  The  cold,  the  wet 
and  the  presence  of  the  enemy  made  minutes  pass  like  hours.  Worst 
of  ill,  though,  was  the  artillery  which  rained  on  the  woods  and  the 
knowledge  that  it  was  being  fired  from  American  guns. 

The  battalion  commander  and  his  S-3,  Captain  John  Flanagan,  had 
watched  the  progress  of  the  attack  from  the  battalion  OP  at  the  edge 
of  Untersie  Busch  Woods.  As  soon  as  Company  G  had  forced  its  way 
into  the  center  of  Sinz,  the  command  post  which  had  been  temporarily 
set  up  in  the  woods  behind  the  line  of  departure  moved  into  town.  It 
was  installed  in  one  of  the  cellars  and  from  there  the  future  operations 
of  the  2d  Battalion  were  directed. 

When  Lieutenant  Colonel  Dohs  was  informed  of  Company  F's 
encounter  with  the  tanks  and  their  subsequent  withdrawal  from  Bann- 
holz,  he  ordered  his  antitank  guns  brought  forward  as  quickly  as 
possible.  Lieutenant  Schofield  put  his  platoon  into  position  in  the 
woods  south  of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road  while  Lieutenant  James  E. 
Prior's  2d  Platoon  of  the  Antitank  Company  prepared  to  move  into 
Sinz  as  soon  as  the  engineers  succeeded  in  bridging  the  antitank  ditch. 
Following  his  instructions  to  the  antitank  platoons,  the  battalion  com- 
mander ordered  Captain  Walter  J.  Stockstad,  commanding  Company 
E,  to  move  to  the  east,  contact  Company  G  and  then  attack  toward 
Bannholz.  Battalion  had  no  wire  contact  with  regiment,  but  kept 
Colonel  Hagerty  posted  on  the  situation  via  radio. 

To  the  west  of  the  2d  Battalion,  the  attacks  of  the  1st  and  3d 
Battalions  of  the  301st,  which  were  to  secure  the  lateral  route  of  supply 
by  advancing  north  of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road,  jumped  off  on  schedule. 
Lieutenant  Colonel  William  A.  McNulty's  3d  Battalion  moved  for- 
ward at  0700  hours  with  Company  I  on  the  left  and  Company  K  on 
the  right.  The  assault  units  pushed  across  the  road  and  north  through 
the  woods.  Captain  Charles  W.  Donovan's  company  ran  into  a  mine- 
field where  it  suffered  casualties  and  was  somewhat  delayed,  but  by 
0945  hours  Company  I  joined  Captain  Warren's  men  on  the  objective. 

Farther  west,  the  1st  Battalion  had  attacked  with  Companies  A  and 
B  in  the  assault  and  secured  their  objective,  some  seven  hundred  yards 
from  the  line  of  departure,  by  0802  hours.  These  advances  gave  the 
regiment  a  firm  grip  on  the  east-west  read  leading  into  Sinz,  insuring 
speedy  supply  and  evacuation  for  all  three  battalions. 

Back  in  Butzdorf  where  Company  F  of  the  302d  had  relieved  Corn- 


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pany  G  of  the  301st,  orders  had  been  issued  to  furnish  protection  to  an 
engineer  mine  sweeping  party  which  was  to  clear  the  road  from  Butz- 
dorf  north  into  Sinz.  This  was  to  be  accomplished  on  the  morning 
of  the  attack,  to  provide  the  Division  with  a  safe  route  over  which 
to  commit  any  armor  that  might  be  needed  in  the  Sinz  area.  Lieutenant 
Alvarado  was  chosen  to  lead  the  security  detachment,  composed  pri- 
marily of  men  of  the  1st  Squad  of  the  2d  Platoon,  which  was  to 
protect  the  six  engineers  under  the  command  of  Lieutenant  T.  J. 
Wellom  who  were  to  make  the  sweep.  The  stretch  of  road  to  be 
cleared  was  under  direct  observation  of  several  enemy  OPs.  Three 
times  the  party  attempted  to  move  out  on  the  morning  of  the  7th, 
but  well  directed  enemy  artillery  fire  made  it  impossible  for  the  engi- 
neers to  stand  erect  on  the  road  and  live.  As  a  result,  it  was  agreed 
to  wait  until  late  afternoon  when  approaching  darkness  would  hamper 
the  vision  of  the  enemy.  As  planned  the  task  was  begun  and  success- 
fully completed  just  after  nightfall. 

On  order,  Company  E  left  its  positions  on  the  line  of  departure. 
Using  the  cover  of  the  draw  that  curves  between  Sinz  and  Bannholz 
Woods,  it  approached  to  a  point  where  the  first  buildings  in  the  north- 
ern half  of  town  were  on  its  right  flank.  There  the  troops  were  brought 
under  intense  mortar  and  artillery  fire  from  the  north.  Far  to  the 
right,  on  the  high  ground  overlooking  the  town  four  enemy  tanks  could 
be  seen  firing  into  Sinz.  The  company  was  to  attack  toward  Bannholz, 
but  shortly  after  it  had  been  halted  by  the  enemy  artillery  there  was  a 
change  in  orders.  Company  G  was  having  trouble  clearing  the  northern 
half  of  the  town  and  the  battalion  commander  had  decided  to  assist 
Lieutenant  Scales'  company  with  the  platoons  of  Company  E.  After 
considerable  difficulty,  Captain  Stockstad  made  his  way  to  the  battalion 
CP  to  coordinate  his  attack.  There  he  conferred  with  both  Captain 
Flanagan  and  Lieutenant  Scales  and  formulated  a  hasty  plan.  Com- 
pany E  was  to  attack  immediately.  The  time  was  then  almost  1100 
hours. 

The  1st  and  2d  Platoons  of  Company  E  moved  toward  the  buildings 
on  their  right  flank,  quickly  eliminating  some  light  opposition  in  the 
nearest  houses,  and  taking  twenty-two  prisoners.  Then  the  company 
attempted  to  clear  the  houses  toward  the  north  end  of  town.  At  this 
point  artillery,  mortar  and  machine-gun  fire  became  intense;  the  ad- 
vance halted.  Casualties  had  been  heavy  and  both  platoon  leaders, 
Lieutenant  Edmund  G.  Reuter  and  Lieutenant  John  S.  Fisher,  had 
been  hit. 


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forward.  Battalion  denied  this  request  and  the  attack  was  pushed  to 
the  northeast,  to  clear  the  remaining  buildings  in  Sinz. 

Company  E  moved  out  with  the  1st  Platoon  on  the  left  and  the  2d 
Platoon  on  the  right  of  the  street.  The  lead  scout  of  the  latter  platoon 
was  killed  by  rifle  fire  from  one  of  the  last  buildings  in  town  and  at 
the  same  time  four  enemy  machine  guns  opened  fire  from  the  outskirts 
of  Sinz.  This  automatic  fire  was  deadly  and  intense.  The  leading  ele- 
ments of  both  platoons  pressed  themselves  against  the  stone  walls  on 
either  side  of  the  street  and  began  to  back  up.  A  squad  of  the  1st 
Platoon,  under  Staff  Sergeant  J.  W.  Green,  took  refuge  behind  a  house 
on  the  right  of  the  street,  but  were  unable  to  enter  the  building  because 
they  were  against  a  blank  wall.  Technical  Sergeant  Raymond  E.  Col- 
lins, acting  as  platoon  leader,  observed  this  and  sent  one  squad,  rein- 
forced with  a  bazooka,  to  aid  Green.  Taking  advantage  of  some  slight 
defilade,  other  bazookas  were  worked  into  positions  from  which  the 
last  house  on  the  right  of  the  street  might  be  brought  under  fire. 
About  twenty  rounds  then  were  launched  against  this  building.  A 
LMG  was  put  into  action  and  sprayed  the  objective.  With  this  support, 
the  two  rifle  squads  rushed  the  house,  firing  as  they  advanced.  They 
stormed  into  the  building  only  to  find  that  the  German  machine 
gunners  had  withdrawn.  On  the  left,  the  2d  Platoon  under  Technical 
Sergeant  Elmer  W.  Grifford,  had  taken  all  but  the  last  house  on  its 
side  of  the  street. 

After  a  token  resistance  the  enemy  facing  Company  G  surrendered 
when  the  men  of  Company  E  had  cleared  all  but  the  last  house  on  the 
north  of  Sinz.  Lieutenant  Scales'  men  then  outposted  their  portion 
of  the  town,  prepared  to  repel  any  counterattack  the  enemy  might 
launch.  Seizure  of  Sinz  netted  the  2d  Battalion  a  total  of  208  prisoners. 

Throughout  this  heavy  fighting  in  Sinz,  the  survivors  of  Company 
F  in  Bannholz  huddled  in  the  snow  as  if  dead  and  prayed  that  they 
might  live  until  darkness  fell.  In  whispers,  plan  after  plan  was  pro- 
posed and  rejected.  If  the  men  were  to  get  back  to  Untersie  Busch, 
it  would  have  to  be  done  under  cover  of  darkness.  Until  then  there 
was  nothing  to  do  but  sweat  it  out.  When  darkness  finally  settled,  the 
group  moved  silently  and  slowly  through  the  woods.  En  route  the 
men  abandoned  their  equipment  and  crawled  past  an  enemy  outpost. 
Finally  the  entire  party  reached  the  safety  of  Untersie  Busch. 

The  1st  Platoon  of  Company  E  in  the  house  opposite  the  last  Ger- 
man foothold  in  Sinz,  thoroughly  searched  their  building  and  then 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


orders  had  been  received  to'  rake  jchk  \m  buildup  jmn>ed».itcfy.  The, 
pi  j  toon  planned  to  rbron  all  available  fir?  p^vrer  ti^zum  rhfc  budding 
then  junI)  the  pos*tioru  NoLselesslv  the  men.  in  verted  tuil  dips  into 

■rc<  to  »per,  fire   8,Kkn-r,.y.  (he  Ger- 


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209 


geant  Green  had  been  leaving,  all  had  been  killed;  six  others  in  the 
house  had  been  knocked  unconscious  by  the  explosion  of  the  Panzer- 
jaust. 

Late  in  the  afternoon,  Lieutenant  Prior's  antitank  platoon  man- 
handled its  guns  into  positon  and  prepared  to  repel  any  enemy  armor 
that  might  attempt  to  push  into  the  northern  portion  of  Sinz.  Enemy 
artillery  knocked  out  one  of  the  platoon's  prime  movers  and  caused 
some  casualties.  At  about  1800  hours,  the  battalion  Antitank  Platoon 
arrived  in  Sinz.  The  men  dug  positions  for  their  weapons  and  assumed 
responsibility  for  the  antitank  protection  of  the  southern  half  of  town. 

During  the  afternoon  Company  L  of  the  301st  was  attached  to  the 
2d  Battalion  and  moved  into  Sinz  to  take  positions  abreast  of  Company 
G.  Company  F,  a  platoon  of  the  774th  TD  Battalion,  and  the  remain- 
der of  the  2d  Battalion  also  moved  forward.  Company  F  was  charged 
with  the  protection  of  the  left  of  the  town  and  the  1st  and  2d  Platoons 
of  the  company  deployed  in  the  cellars  of  the  first  three  houses  while 
the  3d  took  positions  in  the  woods  to  the  west  of  Sinz.  North  of  them, 
the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  E  had  assumed  positions  along  the  high 
ground  near  the  draw  west  of  town. 

By  midnight  Sinz  quieted  as  the  artillery,  mortar  and  rocket  fire 
slackened.  For  the  following  two  and  a  half  hours  enemy  fire  con- 
tinued only  intermittently,  but  at  0230  hours  the  tempo  increased. 
From  then  until  0400  hours  Sinz  was  pounded  with  everything  the 
German  artillery  could  bring  to  bear.  What  few  roofs  remained  intact 
were  soon  riddled.  Fires  broke  out  and  the  sky  above  Sinz  reddened. 
Most  of  the  battalion  deep  in  the  cellars  weathered  the  storm  fairly 
well.  However,  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  E  on  the  high  ground  to 
the  west  took  heavy  casualties. 

Lieutenant  Reynolds  and  his  machine-gun  crew  stuck  grimly  to  their 
posts  in  the  cellar.  About  the  time  the  artillery  fire  on  Sinz  slackened, 
orders  were  received  to  take  the  last  house  held  by  the  enemy  at  all 
costs.  Time  set  for  this  attack  was  0500  hours;  prior  to  H-hour  a  tank 
destroyer  from  the  704th  TD  Battalion  was  to  approach  the  enemy 
position  and  fire  several  rounds  into  the  building.  Following  this 
brief  preparation,  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  E  was  to  rush  the  posi- 
tion and  overwhelm  its  defenders.  To  cover  the  noise  of  the  approach- 
ing TD,  Lieutenant  Reynolds'  machine  gunners  and  the  1st  Platoon 
were  to  engage  the  enemy  by  fire. 

Staff  Sergeant  Green,  who  was  now  leading  the  1st  Platoon,  counted 
his  men.  The  task  was  quickly  completed  as  the  platoon  numbered 
exactly  six  effectives.  All  of  the  men  had  armed  themselves  with  BARs 


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and  shortly  before  the  time  set  for  the  attack  reentered  the  building 
held  by  Lieutenant  Reynolds  and  the  machine  gunners.  To  increase 
the  strength  of  the  attacking  group,  Lieutenant  Reynolds  attached  five 
of  his  men  and  a  bazooka  team.  The  attack  proceeded  according  to 
plan.  At  point-blank  range  the  TD  fired  its  mission  and  the  infantry- 
men stormed  the  building.  There  was  no  opposition;  the  enemy  had 
withdrawn  from  the  house.  The  BAR  men  protecting  the  north  flank 
of  the  attack  reported  that  ten  minutes  earlier  fifteen  Germans  had 
been  seen  moving  from  the  building.  They  had  withheld  their  fire, 
fearing  to  disrupt  the  attack  plan. 

With  the  town  now  completely  in  American  hands,  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Dohs  set  about  improving  his  position.  To  the  east  of  Sinz, 
on  the  high  ground,  were  a  group  of  pillboxes  that  had  proved  ex- 
tremely troublesome  during  the  attack.  The  battalion  commander 
decided  to  eliminate  these  prior  to  dawn  and  assigned  the  task  to 
Captain  Paul  E.  Frierson  of  Company  L.  Shortly  after  midnight  on 
the  morning  of  the  8th,  small  reconnaissance  patrols  were  sent  to 
investigate  the  pillbox  area.  At  the  battalion  CP,  Captain  Frierson  and 
Lieutenant  Glenn  H.  Gass,  commanding  the  1st  Platoon,  studied  the 
available  aerial  photographs  and  laid  their  plans  while  Lieutenant 
Carl  Schaefer  of  the  356th  Field  Artillery  made  arrangements  to  place 
time  fire  on  the  bunkers  to  assist  the  assault. 

At  0800  hours,  Lieutenant  Gass  and  Lieutenant  John  R.  Fraboni 
moved  their  platoons  through  the  eastern  outskirts  of  Sinz.  Lieutenant 
Fraboni's  task  was  the  more  difficult  as  his  platoon  had  to  eliminate 
two  machine-gun  positions  before  it  could  get  to  the  assigned  bunkers. 
While  the  time  fire  kept  the  German  machine  gunners  under  cover, 
the  platoon  approached  to  within  striking  distance  over  a  defiladed 
route.  A  BAR  directed  its  fire  against  the  first  machine-gun  nest  as 
Private  First  Class  Eugene  Crenshaw  circled  the  position  and  sur- 
prised the  enemy  gunners.  At  the  same  time,  Private  First  Class  Warren 
Dunn  effectively  silenced  the  second  machine  gun  by  killing  its  crew. 
An  enemy  Panzerfaust  team  and  supporting  infantry  in  positions 
between  the  two  machine  guns  were  also  eliminated. 

Lieutenant  Gass'  platoon,  accompanied  by  Lieutenant  Schaefer,  first 
checked  a  suspected  bunker  location.  When  this  proved  to  be  only  a 
rockpile,  the  platoon  continued  toward  its  main  objective.  The  time 
fire  gave  perfect  support  and  as  the  troops  were  in  position  to  assault 
their  first  bunker,  Lieutenant  Schaefer  shifted  fire  to  two  other  known 
enemy  positions. 

Lieutenant  Fraboni's  men  approached  their  bunker  and  called  on 


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the  enemy  to  surrender.  Without  more  ado,  thirteen  Germans  came 
out.  They  were  badly  frightened  and  began  to  mill  about.  Before  the 
group  could  be  moved  to  the  rear  one  of  the  PWs  was  killed  by  time 
fire.  A  second  position  was  overrun  and  one  of  the  infantrymen  dropped 
a  hand  grenade  down  the  bunker's  stove  pipe.  This  action  destroyed 
the  stove  inside  and  the  bunker  began  to  smoke.  Upon  seeing  this, 
the  two  engineers  with  the  platoon  dashed  forward  placing  a  satchel 
charge  against  the  door  of  the  position.  As  the  door  blew  in,  eighteen 
more  Supermen  decided  to  surrender. 

The  remaining  bunker  was  taken  by  Lieutenant  Gass'  men  who 
approached  this  objective  unopposed.  Given  an  opportunity  to  sur- 
render, the  enemy  refused.  Persuasion  in  the  form  of  a  flame  thrower 
was  then  applied  and  a  German  officer  and  about  ten  enlisted  men 
gave  up.  In  less  than  thirty  minutes  the  entire  operation  was  com- 
pleted. Following  this  the  two  platoons  secured  the  high  ground  to 
the  north  and  east  and  organized  the  position.  The  bunker  that  had 
been  taken  by  Lieutenant  Gass'  platoon  was  converted  into  a  command 
post  and  occupied  without  further  delay.  While  the  platoons  were 
engaged  in  digging  foxholes  around  the  newly  won  area,  the  German 
telephone  in  the  CP  rang.  There  was  no  one  present  who  could  speak 
German  so  the  phone  was  not  answered.  Shortly  after,  very  accurate 
artillery  fire  began  to  fall  on  the  area  as  Company  L's  positions  were 
visible  from  the  higher  ground  on  Munzingen  Ridge.  This  enemy 
fire  continued  inflicting  numerous  casualties. 

When  the  riflemen's  foxholes  were  only  about  a  foot  deep  the  cry 
of  'Tanks!"  was  passed  down  the  line.  There  was  only  one  enemy 
vehicle  in  sight  but  this  had  worked  its  way  to  within  two  hundred 
yards  of  the  platoons  before  being  discovered.  Lieutenant  Schaefer 
called  for  artillery  fire  as  the  panzer  lumbered  forward.  When  the  tank 
was  within  twenty  yards  of  the  incompleted  foxhole  of  one  of  Com- 
pany L's  sergeants,  the  NCO  engaged  it  with  a  bazooka,  firing  from 
the  kneeling  position.  His  projectile  struck  the  turret  without  causing 
any  damage.  This  blow  attracted  the  attention  of  the  tankers  who  fired 
directly  into  the  sergeant's  position.  Two  of  the  company's  machine 
gunners  sprayed  the  tank  to  keep  it  buttoned  up.  Meanwhile,  Lieu- 
enant  Schaefer  continued  to  call  for  artillery  fire  and  smoke,  though 
he  and  the  troops  were  endangered  by  their  own  artillery.  Despite 
this  fire,  the  tank  soon  silenced  both  machine  guns.  Gradually  though, 
smoke  shells  began  to  limit  the  visibility  of  the  tankers  and  they  with- 
drew to  the  east  of  Das  Lee  Woods  where  earlier  in  the  attack  other 
tanks  and  infantry  had  been  seen.  These  had  been  engaged  promptly 


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by  the  Division  artillery  and  did  not  come  to  the  assistance  of  the 
lone  attacking  tank. 

At  about  1400  hours,  under  cover  of  friendly  artillery  fire,  the 
dozen  or  so  men  who  had  been  wounded  prior  to  the  tank  attack  and 
the  casualties  suffered  fighting  the  lone  panzer  were  evacuated.  The 
remaining  men  dug  deep  into  the  hillside  and  prepared  for  the  night 
which  proved  so  dark  the  700-yard  trip  into  Sinz  took  several  hours. 

By  noon  on  the  8th  of  February,  all  units  engaged  in  the  Sinz  area 
were  operating  at  greatly  reduced  strength.  In  addition  to  the  losses 
in  dead  and  wounded,  the  constant  artillery  and  mortar  fire  on  the 
town,  which  was  averaging  two  to  three  rounds  a  minute,  produced 
numerous  cases  of  combat  exhaustion.  Company  F  was  moved  deeper 
into  town  and  its  personnel  were  used  to  fill  the  gaps  in  Company 
G's  defenses.  The  location  of  any  concentration  of  enemy  troops  or 
tanks  was  immediately  reported  to  Captain  Bruhl  at  the  battalion  com- 
mand post  and  artillery  fire  adjusted,  for  the  TDs  of  the  704th  Tank 
Destroyer  Battalion  found  themselves  virtually  helpless.  They  were 
outgunned  and  outranged  by  the  enemy  tanks.  As  a  result,  from  the 
high  ground  in  the  vicinity  of  Das  Lee  Woods,  German  panzers 
covered  the  road  leading  into  Sinz  with  their  88s.  They  fired  into  the 
town  and  beyond  it  into  Untersie  Busch  at  will. 


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Chapter  23:  SECOND  BANNHOLZ 

IF  THE  OVERALL  PLAN  of  the  Division  Commander  was  to  be 
realized,  Bannholz  Woods  had  to  be  taken.  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Dohs  therefore,  laid  plans  for  a  second  attack.  Four  groups  of 
twenty-five  men  were  to  leave  Sinz  shortly  after  midnight  on  the  8th 
of  February  and  enter  Bannholz.  They  were  to  destroy  any  enemy  tanks 
they  might  encounter,  then  dig  positions  from  which  they  could  sup- 
port the  advance  of  other  elements  of  the  battalion  later  in  the  day. 
Once  the  25-man  groups  had  secured  their  positions  in  the  woods, 
guides  were  to  be  sent  to  Sinz  to  lead  forward  tank  destroyers  and 
the  TDs  were  to  take  concealed  positions  in  Bannholz  prior  to  day- 
light. These  twenty-five-man  groups  were  to  be  drawn  from  the  3d 
Platoons  of  Companies  E  and  G  and  from  the  commandos.  Lieutenant 
Reynolds  was  to  take  the  Company  E  group  while  Lieutenant  William 
S.  Sollenberger  and  Lieutenant  Christiansen  were  to  lead  the  groups 
from  Company  G.  Sergeant  Poynter  would  continue  to  lead  the  com- 
mandos. These  leaders  and  the  TD  commander  were  oriented  on  their 
mission,  after  which  the  infantry  leaders  returned  to  gather  their  men. 
None  of  the  designated  groups  was  able  to  muster  full  strength  and 
Sergeant  Poynter  could  gather  only  seventeen  effectives.  The  men 
chosen  for  this  new  and  difficult  assignment  were  already  tired  and 
battle  weary,  as  were  all  other  elements  of  the  command. 

Though  orders  were  that  the  groups  move  out  immediately  after 
midnight,  unavoidable  delays  postponed  their  departure  until  0200 
hours.  It  took  another  hour  and  a  half  to  reach  the  edge  of  Bannholz 
Woods;  en  route  the  strength  of  Sergeant  Poynter's  party  was  further 
reduced.  When  the  commando  group  reached  its  assigned  area  there 
were  only  ten  men  left,  including  the  sergeant.  Lieutenant  Reynolds' 
group  moved  into  position  on  the  right  of  the  commandos  and  still 
farther  to  the  right,  Lieutenant  Sollenberger's  men  entered  the  woods. 
At  the  same  time,  Lieutenant  Christiansen  and  his  party  pushed  to  the 
northern  portion  of  Bannholz  Woods. 

As  the  commando  group  began  digging  positions  a  German  flare 
lit  the  area.  The  men  froze  until  the  flare  died,  and  they  escaped  detec- 
tion. Deeper  in  the  woods,  the  enemy  could  be  heard  shouting  to 
one  another.  According  to  plan,  the  guides  returned  to  Sinz  and  the 
tank  destroyers  were  led  into  position  prior  to  daylight.  One  of  the 
TDs  was  placed  in  the  edge  of  the  woods  facing  northwest  and  the 
second  was  echeloned  about  fifty  yards  to  the  rear,  deeper  in  the  woods. 

Before  dawn  enemy  artillery  and  Screaming  Meemies  began  to  fall 
in  the  area  and  occasional  small-arms  and  automatic-weapons  fire  in- 
dicated the  presence  of  enemy  infantry  in  the  woods.  Sergeant  Poynter 

214 


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sent  a  small  patrol  to  the  right  to  contact  Lieutenant  Reynolds,  but  this 
group  encountered  enemy  riflemen  and  was  forced  to  return.  With  the 
coming  of  daylight,  the  radio  began  to  fail.  Only  occasionally  would 
it  either  send  or  receive.  The  TD  men  were  nervous  about  the  vulner- 
ability of  their  position  and  to  add  to  their  misgivings  a  mortar  shell 
hit  the  rearmost  tank  destroyer,  wounding  one  of  the  crew  and  jam- 
ming the  turret.  Two  of  the  TD  men  took  their  wounded  comrade 
back  to  Sinz  while  the  crew  chief  of  the  crippled  tank  destroyer  joined 
the  men  manning  the  remaining  vehicle.  Not  long  after  this,  three 
German  tanks  were  observed  in  the  area  between  Adenholz  and  Geis- 
busch  Woods.  Artillery  was  requested  but  no  fire  materialized.  The 
tanks  appeared  to  be  moving  slowly  south. 

Sergeant  Poynter  attempted  to  repair  his  radio  as  it  was  of  vital  im- 
portance that  he  maintain  contact  with  the  other  groups  in  the  woods. 
As  he  worked  on  the  instrument  which  he  held  between  his  legs,  there 
was  a  sudden  burst  of  Schtneisser  fire,  and  the  radio  was  beyond  all 
repair.  The  German  who  had  fired  the  burp-gun  was  in  position  in 
the  crippled  tank  destroyer,  to  the  sergeant's  rear.  Then,  to  make  mat- 
ters worse,  the  NCO  in  charge  of  the  manned  TD  yelled  that  German 
tanks  were  moving  south  to  encircle  the  position  and  cut  them  off. 
With  five  of  Sergeant  Poynter's  infantrymen  clinging  to  the  side  of 
the  TD,  this  vehicle  roared  out  of  the  woods  with  its  .50-caliber  blazing 
away  at  the  underbrush.  Of  the  six  tank  destroyers  that  entered  the 
woods,  this  was  the  only  one  to  return  to  Sinz. 

With  his  radio  destroyed,  enemy  infantry  infiltrating  his  rear,  Ger- 
man tanks  roaming  to  the  front  and  only  four  men  remaining  under 
his  command,  Sergeant  Poynter  decided  his  position  was  hopeless. 
He  and  his  four  men  therefore  withdrew  to  the  comparative  safety 
of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road,  nine  hundred  yards  south  of  the  woods. 

Lieutenant  Sollenberger's  men  experienced  no  difficulty  entering 
Bannholz  during  the  early  morning  hours.  They  pushed  forward  to 
their  assigned  area  and  investigated  it  as  well  as  they  could  in  the 
dark.  Fearing  tree  bursts,  Lieutenant  Sollenberger  decided  to  dig  in 
on  the  outskirts  of  the  eastern  edge  of  the  woods,  though  it  was  almost 
daylight  before  the  men  began  to  prepare  positions. 

The  two  TDs  that  were  to  support  Lieutenant  Christiansen's  men 
just  to  the  north  of  Lieutenant  Sollenberger,  did  not  arrive  until  after 
daylight.  They  had  barely  passed  the  2d  Platoon  when  the  report  of 
an  88  was  heard  and  a  burst  of  flame  followed.  A  German  tank- 
concealed  within  the  woods  had  allowed  these  TDs  to  come  within 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


easy  range,  then  proceeded  to  knock  them  out.  Following  this,  the 
German  tank  moved  boldly  through  the  northern  edge  of  the  woods. 

At  about  this  time,  Lieutenant  Christiansen  radioed  battalion  that 
his  position  was  becoming  untenable  and  that  a  tank  was  firing  into 
the  foxholes  of  his  men.  Artillery  fire  was  brought  to  bear  and  the 
tank  withdrew.  It  returned  shortly,  however,  reinforced  by  a  second 
panzer.  Then  firing  was  heard  to  the  north  by  Lieutenant  Sollen- 
berger's  men  who  were  unable  to  see  Lieutenant  Christiansen's  posi- 
tions through  the  woods.  Again  Lieutenant  Christiansen  radioed  bat- 
talion and  asked  for  permission  to  withdraw.  He  was  told  to  side-slip 
to  avoid  the  tanks,  but  to  stay  in  the  northern  portion  of  the  woods. 

It  was  well  along  in  the  morning  when  the  enemy  tanks  moved  in 
against  the  two  northern  groups  for  the  kill.  They  advanced  slowly, 
one  on  either  side  of  the  line  of  foxholes.  Their  machine  guns  fired 
steadily  and  their  88s  alternated  in  raising  and  lowering.  The  high- 
velocity  antitank  weapons  fired  directly  into  the  foxholes,  methodically 
killing  the  American  infantrymen.  A  few  of  the  exhausted,  nerve- 
shattered  men  bolted  into  the  woods.  One  soldier  employing  a  bazooka 
was  killed  instantly  by  return  fire  from  the  tanks.  A  squad  leader  bur- 
rowed deep  in  his  foxhole  and  escaped.  Lieutenant  Sollenberger's 
runner  was  killed  as  he  dashed  for  the  woods  and  the  platoon's  radio 
which  he  was  carrying  was  destroyed.  The  3d  Squad  holding  the 
southern  end  of  the  2d  Platoon's  line  was  cut  down  as  the  men  at- 
tempted to  break  for  the  rear.  Sergeant  Babcock  was  wounded  in 
the  legs  and  side  by  fragments  of  an  88  that  struck  directly  in  front 
of  his  foxhole.  Somehow  he  managed  to  escape.  By  noon  the  whole 
bloody  business  was  over. 

The  Company  E  group  under  Lieutenant  Reynolds  entered  the  woods 
with  the  other  parties  and  searched  their  area.  There  were  plenty  of 
dead  Germans  in  the  vicinity  but  nothing  more.  Their  tank  destroyers 
were  brought  forward  without  incident  and  the  group  settled  down  to 
await  the  coming  of  morning.  No  tanks  had  been  located  in  the  first 
search  of  the  woods,  so  after  daylight  patrols  were  sent  out  to  locate 
any  hidden  enemy  armor.  Firing  was  heard  both  to  the  north  where 
Lieutenant  Christiansen  was  in  position  and  to  the  south.  Shortly 
before  0900  hours,  German  infantry  approached  the  right  flank  of 
the  position.  The  enemy  advanced  in  what  appeared  to  be  a  platoon 
column  formation.  Lieutenant  Reynolds  and  Staff  Sergeant  Robert  G. 
Lehman  ordered  their  men  to  open  fire.  As  the  enemy  infantry  began 
to  outflank  the  position  a  withdrawal  was  ordered.  The  TDs  were 


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217 


abandoned  and  the  group  eventually  made  their  way  back  to  Sinz. 
Upon  arriving  at  the  battalion  CP  and  learning  that  Lieutenant  Chris- 
tiansen and  his  party  were  still  in  the  woods,  Lieutenant  Reynolds 
prepared  to  return  to  their  aid.  Before  this  could  be  done,  a  radio 
message  was  received  from  the  beleaguered  group:  "The  tanks  are 
moving  down  the  line,  with  infantry,  firing  into  each  foxhole."  This 
was  the  last  transmission  from  Lieutenant  Christiansen's  platoon. 

Survivors  of  the  four  groups  that  had  gone  into  the  woods  were 
physically  and  mentally  strained  from  hours  of  close  fighting,  constant 
artillery  pounding  and  front-line  existence.  They  were  exhausted, 
thoroughly  and  completely.  Many  of  the  men  were  on  the  verge  ot 
cracking  and  some  could  not  even  remember  their  own  names. 

The  attack  of  the  4th  Panzer  Company  and  its  supporting  infantry 
had  been  highly  successful.  Twenty  American  prisoners  had  been 
taken,  five  TDs  had  been  knocked  out  or  destroyed  and  all  of  Bann- 
holz  Woods  had  been  cleared.  Also,  relief  from  this  costly  and  bitter 
fighting  was  in  sight  for  the  men  of  the  11th  Panzer.  Reconnaissance 
parties  from  the  256th  Volksgrenadier  Division  were  already  in  the 
Triangle  and  the  main  body  of  the  incoming  unit  was  scheduled  to 
arrive  that  night. 

Later  it  was  learned  from  interrogation  of  prisoners  that  the  256th 
was  assigned  a  zone  extending  west  from  Sinz  since  it  was  in  this 
sector  that  the  94th  was  making  its  greatest  inroads.  Plans  called  for 
the  15th  Tank  Regiment  of  the  11th  to  remain  behind  for  forty-eight 
hours  to  act  as  a  counterattacking  force  in  the  event  of  an  American 
breakthrough.  Meanwhile  the  Volksgrenadiers  relieved  those  elements 
of  the  11th  and  4l6th  in  their  zone.  This  relief  was  not  entirely  com- 
pleted until  about  the  15th  of  February.  Moving  back  across  the  Saar, 
the  11th  Panzer  Division  passed  to  the  control  of  the  German  First 
Army. 


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Chapter  24:  BANNHOLZ-ADENHOLZ 


BY  LATE  AFTERNOON  of  February  9,  1945,  the  301st  Infantry 
was  spread  dangerously  thin.  The  line  of  the  1st  and  3d  Bat- 
talions from  the  Moselle  to  Untersie  Busch  was  only  loosely 
held.  For  the  most  part,  the  reserve  strength  of  these  two  units  had 
been  siphoned  off  during  the  7th  and  8th  to  help  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Dohs'  troops.  Moreover,  the  CO  of  the  2d  Battalion,  his  staff  and 
men  were  bordering  on  exhaustion.  Their  supporting  artillery  was  also 
beginning  to  tire;  in  seventy-two  hours  of  fighting,  the  356th  Field 
Artillery  alone  had  expended  6,965  rounds  of  105mm  ammunition. 
Also,  it  was  clearly  apparent  that  the  2d  Battalion  would  not  be  able 
to  take  Bannholz  Woods.  Consequently,  it  was  decided  to  use  the  2d 
Battalion,  376th,  in  an  attack  to  be  launched  the  following  morning. 
This  was  a  change  in  the  original  plan  but  General  Malony  hoped 
that  after  Lieutenant  Colonel  Martin's  battalion  had  seized  Bannholz 
it  might  become  regimental  reserve  when  the  remaining  battalions  of 
the  376th  had  been  committed  through  it  to  attack  east  to  seize  Munz- 
ingen  Ridge  and  the  towns  of  Munzingen  and  Faha.  The  capture 
of  Sinz  meant  the  Division  was  in  a  fair  way  to  break  the  Switch  Line. 
One  more  strong  thrust  would  carry  the  94th  through  these  fortifica- 
tions and  the  Division  could  "roll  them  from  the  rear." 

The  plan  of  attack  called  for  a  frontal  assault  by  Companies  F  and 

G.  Company  F  commanded  by  Captain  George  P.  Whitman,  would 
advance  on  the  right,  seize  the  eastern  section  of  the  woods  and  push 
to  its  northern  edge.  Captain  John  D.  Heath's  men  would  attack  on 
the  left  of  Company  F  and  were  charged  with  securing  the  western 
portion  of  Bannholz.  The  heavy  machine-gun  platoons  from  Company 

H,  which  was  commanded  by  Captain  Robert  Q.  Smith,  would  be 
attached  to  the  assault  companies  when  they  entered  the  woods.  Once 
the  attack  on  Bannholz  was  well  under  way,  Lieutenant  Colonel 
McNulty's  battalion  of  the  301st,  farther  to  the  left,  would  seize  Aden- 
holz  Woods  and  so  protect  the  flank  of  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  from 
counterattack  from  the  west. 

Shortly  before  darkness  a  reconnaissance  party  from  the  2d  Battalion 
proceeded  to  Untersie  Busch  where  enemy  artillery  and  mortar  fire 
coupled  with  the  approaching  nightfall  impeded  observation.  On  this 
reconnaissance,  Lieutenant  Richard  A.  Hawley,  executive  officer  of 
Company  F,  and  Sergeant  Otto  H.  Fikejs,  the  company's  communica- 
tion sergeant,  were  both  wounded.  The  party  returned  to  Perl  and 
Lieutenant  George  Desmaris,  Weapons  Platoon  leader  of  Company  F, 
accurately  summed  up  the  result  of  endeavor  at  the  company  command 
post:  "We  couldn't  see  a  thing.  We  couldn't  see  a  goddam  thing!" 


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As  darkness  faded  these  platoons  made  their  way  into  the  southern 
portion  of  Bannholz  Woods.  There  they  encountered  small-arms  fire, 
but  continued  to  advance  by  employing  marching  fire.  When  Sergeant 
Johnston  was  wounded,  Staff  Sergeant  Henry  Johnson  assumed  com- 
mand of  the  3d  Platoon.  After  driving  back  the  enemy  outpost,  the 
platoons  dug  positions  in  the  western  part  of  the  woods. 

At  0800  hours,  Lieutenant  Janulis  radioed  the  company  commander 
that  he  was  worried  about  his  exposed  flank.  Staff  Sergeant  William 
B.  Malloy,  commanding  the  1st  Platoon,  was  therefore  instructed  to 
move  his  men  into  the  woods  immediately  to  take  positions  on  the 
left  of  the  2d  Platoon.  It  was  now  full  daylight  and  tanks  could  be 
seen  in  Geisbusch  Woods.  Machine-gun  fire  periodically  raked  the  area 
southwest  of  Bannholz. 

Company  F  moved  out  with  Lieutenant  Gordon  A.  Weston's  2d 
Platoon  on  the  left  and  Lieutenant  Stanley  C.  Mason's  3d  Platoon  on 
the  right.  The  former  platoon  was  initially  slowed  by  the  heavy,  tan- 
gled undergrowth  through  which  it  advanced.  This  platoon  was  respon- 
sible for  contact  with  Company  G  on  the  left  and  in  endeavoring  to 
keep  in  touch  with  Captain  Heath's  men,  veered  to  the  west.  As  a 
result,  they  entered  the  woods  in  Company  Gs  zone. 

When  Lieutenant  Mason's  platoon  was  about  one  hundred  yards 
from  Bannholz,  an  enemy  machine  gun  opened  fire.  Fearing  to  be 
caught  in  the  open  the  infantrymen  sprinted  for  the  woods.  Technical 
Sergeant  Mariano  Scopoli  and  two  squads  of  the  3d  Platoon  entered 
the  woods  left  of  the  platoon  leader  and  the  remaining  squad.  Con- 
tact was  immediately  lost  as  artillery  and  mortar  fire  began  to  descend 
on  Bannholz. 

For  Company  F  the  attack  developed  badly,  Lieutenant  Weston's 
platoon  was  with  Company  G,  in  the  western  section  of  the  woods; 
Lieutenant  Mason's  platoon  was  split  and  out  of  contact;  the  support 
platoon  under  Lieutenant  George  B.  Wilson  was  caught  in  the  open 
south  of  Bannholz  suffering  casualties.  Two  enemy  tanks  which  had 
been  concealed  in  the  southeast  corner  of  the  woods  added  the  fire 
of  their  88s  to  the  tree  bursts  already  raining  upon  the  company.  As 
these  tanks  went  into  action,  Lieutenant  Mason  and  the  bazooka  teams 
which  were  with  him  moved  forward  to  engage  the  enemy  armor. 

Private  First  Class  Leonard  L.  Neff,  one  of  the  bazooka  men,  and 
his  loader,  Private  First  Class  Otis  L.  King,  picked  a  Tiger  as  their 
first  target  and  inched  their  way  toward  the  squat  nose  of  the  huge 
tank.  Overhead,  the  blast  of  the  tank's  turret  gun  was  instantly  echoed 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


by  the  crash  of  the  exploding  shell.  Private  First  Class  Neff  rose  to 
his  elbows  and  fired  his  first  round.  Smoke  wreathed  the  Tiger  as 
the  bazookaman  nervously  reloaded.  Again  and  again  they  fired  at 
the  Tiger  and  another  tank  supporting  it.  Finally  the  panzers,  undam- 
aged by  many  bazooka  hits,  decided  to  withdraw.  Just  at  that  time 
a  mortar  round  landed  practically  on  top  of  the  bazooka  team.  Private 
First  Class  King  bent  over  Neff  and  saw  that  there  was  little  he  could 
do  for  the  mortally  wounded  man.  Refusing  to  leave  his  comrade,  he 
picked  up  the  bazooka  and  continued  firing  at  the  retreating  tanks 
until  his  friend  died.  Dismayed  at  the  failure  of  the  bazookas,  Lieu- 
tenant Mason  opened  fire  with  his  carbine  to  keep  the  tanks  buttoned 
up.  He  succeeded  in  accomplishing  this  until  seriously  wounded  by 
a  close  burst  from  the  panzers*  guns. 

One  of  the  retreating  tanks  maneuvered  around  the  corner  of  the 
woods  and  engaged  the  1st  Platoon  which  was  still  halted  in  the 
open  ground  between  the  line  of  departure  and  Bannholz.  The  heavy 
machine-gun  platoon,  the  60mm  mortar  section,  most  of  the  command 
group  and  two  litter  teams  were  with  the  platoon.  All  of  these  groups 
suffered  heavily  from  enemy  mortar  fire  and  from  the  tanks. 

Captain  Whitman,  his  radio  operator  and  a  runner  had  entered  the 
woods  at  0745,  despite  the  intensity  of  the  mortar  fire  through  which 
they  made  their  way.  Thirty  minutes  later,  they  located  Technical 
Sergeant  Scopoli  and  the  two  squads  of  Lieutenant  Mason's  platoon 
that  had  entered  the  woods  with  him.  The  CO  ordered  this  group 
to  sweep  through  the  woods  to  the  north,  along  the  eastern  edge  of 
Bannholz.  As  the  group  moved  out  to  accomplish  this  mission,  the 
enemy  artillery  fire  slackened. 

Meanwhile,  Sergeant  Malloy  of  Company  G  prepared  to  move  into 
Bannholz  and  take  over  the  western  edge  of  Company  G's  zone.  The 
platoon  moved  forward  in  defilade  from  the  fire  of  the  tanks  in  Geis- 
busch  until  suddenly  bursts  of  machine-gun  cross-fire  began  beating 
the  ground  around  them.  As  the  platoon  hit  the  dirt,  Sergeant  Malloy 
yelled  for  his  men  to  run  for  the  woods.  Part  of  the  platoon  followed 
the  sergeant,  but  others  hugged  the  ground  and  were  hit  where  they 
lay.  In  the  woods,  the  remnants  of  the  platoon  assembled.  Only 
seventeen  of  the  forty  men  were  left.  Sergeant  Malloy  deployed  them 
along  the  western  edge  of  the  woods,  where  they  quickly  dug  in.  By 
1000  hours  when  Captain  Heath  arrived  the  men  were  well  entrenched. 
Lieutenant  Weston  had  joined  Company  G  after  losing  contact  with 
his  own  unit  and  was  placed  on  the  right  flank. 


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223 


Captain  Blakely  of  the  919th  and  his  radio  operator,  Technician 
Fourth  Grade  Adolph  Singer,  entered  Bannholz  on  their  own  and  set 
up  among  the  2d  and  3d  Platoons  of  Company  G.  From  this  position, 
there  was  observation  to  the  north  and  west.  Shortly  after  the  arrival 
of  the  artillerymen,  a  tank  appeared  on  the  outer  edge  of  Geisbusch 
Woods.  It  was  presently  joined  by  a  second  panzer  and  artillery  fire 
was  adjusted  on  both.  HE  shells  bursting  around  the  tanks  kept  them 
buttoned  up,  but  could  not  knock  them  out.  They  repeatedly  pulled 
back  into  the  woods,  changed  position  and  reappeared.  When  the 
bazooka  teams  attempted  to  hit  the  enemy  armor  with  long-range  fire, 
the  characteristic  blast  of  the  weapons  revealed  their  positions  and 
brought  speedy  return  fire  from  the  panzers. 

After  Sergeant  Scopoli  and  the  two  squads  of  the  3d  Platoon  of 
Company  F  moved  out,  Captain  Whitman  took  stock  of  the  situation. 
He  was  out  of  contact  with  Lieutenants  Wilson,  Mason  and  Weston. 
In  addition,  he  did  not  know  the  whereabouts  of  most  of  his  bazooka 
teams.  He  reasoned  that  Lieutenant  Weston  had  pushed  forward  in 
the  left  of  the  company  zone,  and,  with  this  in  mind,  decided  to  move 
to  the  site  he  had  selected  for  a  company  CP.  There  he  encountered 
Lieutenant  Robert  C.  Pierce,  the  platoon  leader  of  the  heavy  machine 
guns  attached  to  his  company.  Convinced  that  Lieutenant  Weston 
was  on  or  near  the  company  objective,  the  CO  of  Company  F  and 
Lieutenant  Pierce  moved  northeast  almost  parallel^  to  the  course  of 
Sergeant  Scopoli,  who  was  advancing  on  the  right.  As  the  company 
commander  and  his  group  approached  the  northeastern  edge  of  Bann- 
holz they  encountered  Sergeant  Scopoli's  party.  Tanks  had  been  heard 
to  the  east  and  the  men  were  busily  engaged  in  digging  positions. 
Sergeant  Scopoli  reported  that  he  had  seen  nothing  of  Lieutenant 
Weston  in  his  advance.  Captain  Whitman  then  ordered  the  group 
forward  again,  still  convinced  the  2d  Platoon  was  farther  to  the  north. 
As  the  two  squads  of  the  3d  Platoon  moved  across  the  trail  that 
paralleled  the  northern  edge  of  Bannholz  about  150  yards  south  of  it, 
they  encountered  German  infantry  in  well  prepared  positions.  The 
enemy  was  armed  with  BARs  and  Mis  which  they  employed  with  tell- 
ing effect.  Sergeant  Scopoli's  men  returned  this  fire,  but  it  soon  devel- 
oped that  the  enemy  was  too  strong  for  this  small  group.  They  pulled 
back  slowly  covering  their  own  withdrawal. 

Prior  to  this  encounter  Captain  Whitman,  Lieutenant  Pierce  and  the 
small  command  group  had  started  back  to  Company  G  where  they 
arrived  at  1000  hours.  En  route  the  party  ran  into  Gecman  mortar  fire. 
All  were  wounded.  At  the  CP  Captain  Whitman  learned  the  where- 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


abouts  of  Lieutenant  Weston  and  ordered  him  forward  at  once  to 
reinforce  Sergeant  Scopoli's  men.  As  the  2d  Platoon  moved  out,  it 
encountered  the  remnants  of  the  two  squads  of  the  3d  Platoon  filter- 
ing back  through  the  woods.  In  addition  to  the  enemy  infantry,  a 
German  tank  had  appeared  and  added  its  fire  power  to  the  encounter. 

Captain  Whitman  next  moved  Lieutenant  Weston's  platoon  to  the 
right,  into  what  was  properly  the  zone  of  Company  F.  There  was  still 
no  word  from  Lieutenants  Mason  or  Wilson.  The  number  of  men 
available  to  the  company  commander  at  this  time  did  not  exceed  forty, 
and  many  of  these  were  wounded. 

The  battalion  commander  had  followed  the  progress  of  this  attack 
as  closely  as  possible,  and  the  first  few,  scattered  reports  coming  out 
of  Bannholz  had  been  favorable.  At  0800  hours,  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Martin  had  seen  three  tanks  along  the  edge  of  Geisbusch.  He  also 
observed  the  tanks  at  the  southeast  edge  of  Bannholz  that  had  so 
effectively  split  the  attack  of  his  right  assault  company.  From  then  on, 
the  news  was  bad. 

At  about  1000  hours,  one  of  the  tank  destroyers  of  the  704th  TD 
Battalion  went  into  action  from  Untersie  Busch  but  scored  no  hits  on 
the  enemy  armor  south  of  Bannholz.  A  short  time  later,  the  TD  men 
bore-sighted  their  76mm  and  got  a  glancing  hit  which  caused  the 
enemy  to  move  about  one  hundred  yards  east  to  a  hull-defilade  position. 
Throughout  this  fight,  the  TDs  experienced  difficulty  in  maneuvering 
because  of  the  soft  ground  in  which  they  quickly  bogged. 

After  the  first  two  hours  radio  contact  between  battalion  and  the 
troops  in  the  woods  failed  completely.  Five  times  the  battalion  com- 
munications officer,  Lieutenant  James  C  McCullough,  Jr.,  attempted 
to  get  wire  crews  into  Bannholz  from  Untersie  Busch.  None  of  these 
teams  was  able  to  move  more  than  two  hundred  yards  from  the  woods 
before  enemy  fire  pinned  them  down,  inflicting  casualties.  As  the  morn- 
ing progressed,  it  became  necessary  to  rely  more  and  more  on  informa- 
tion gleaned  from  the  wounded  filtering  back  from  Bannholz. 

By  0930  hours,  medical  evacuation  had  become  an  acute  problem. 
Lieutenant  Perry  Heidelberger,  MAC,  with  the  2d  Battalion,  learned 
that  both  the  assault  companies  had  lost  two  of  their  aid  men  before 
they  entered  the  woods.  Realizing  there  were  many  wounded  in  Bann- 
holz and  that  help  would  be  needed  in  caring  for  them,  Lieutenant 
Heidelberger  jeeped  into  Sinz  and  made  his  way  on  foot  to  a  point 
about  three  hundred  yards  from  the  German  tanks  in  position  south- 
east of  the  woods.   From  there  he  signaled  the  panzers  by  waving 


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into  town,  l-o  route  it  way  occasionally  d  el  a  fed  by  rnottar  fire, -but 
suffered  no  further  casual  ties, 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


long-range  bazooka  fire  merely  increased  the  accuracy  of  the  return 
fire  delivered  by  the  enemy  tankers. 

Later  it  was  learned  that  the  German  tanks  had  been  equipped  with 
"bazooka  skirts' '  which  consisted  of  a  thin  outer  sheet  of  metal  plate 
guarding  the  vital  spots  on  the  hull.  This  outer  skin  was  separated 
from  the  hull  itself  by  an  area  of  dead  space.  Bazooka  rounds  would 
penetrate  the  skirt  and  explode  harmlessly  on  the  hull  without  pene- 
trating to  the  tank's  interior. 

By  noon  all  hope  of  accomplishing  the  assigned  mission  in  Bannholz 
Woods  had  been  abandoned  and  the  fight  developed  into  a  struggle 
for  survival.  Radios  had  been  destroyed  by  enemy  fire  or  had  ceased 
to  function,  and  most  of  the  communication  personnel  were  casualties. 
As  the  day  progressed,  contact  between  platoon  leaders  and  their  com- 
pany commanders  became  almost  nonexistent  for  it  was  impossible  for 
patrols  to  move  from  one  isolated  group  to  another.  To  the  troops  it 
was  a  day  of  terror.  There  seemed  to  be  no  defense  against  the  Ger- 
man armor  which  roamed  the  area  at  will.  Inside  the  woods,  attackers 
and  defenders  sniped  at  each  other  from  trees  only  a  few  yards  apart. 
Prisoners  were  taken  and  then  lost  again  as  captor  and  captured,  taking 
cover  from  the  furious  shelling,  lost  each  other  in  the  confusion. 
The  German  tanks  soon  became  aware  that  their  bazooka  skirts  ade- 
quately protected  them  from  the  American  bazooka  fire.  With  this 
they  became  bolder.  They  left  the  shelter  of  Geisbusch  Woods  and 
sallied  to  within  seventy-five  yards  of  Company  G's  position.  Their 
machine  guns  raked  the  trees  and  they  fired  their  88s  directly  into  the 
company  area. 

Doggedly  Captain  Blakely  clung  to  his  position  in  the  edge  of  the 
woods  in  Company  G's  zone.  At  his  direction  the  919th  and  284th 
Field  Artillery  Battalions  fired  almost  continuously.  Fire  from  the  390th 
Field  Artillery's  155s  was  also  brought  to  bear,  but  the  enemy  tanks 
were  cautious  enough  to  keep  moving  constantly.  During  the  after- 
noon, Captain  Blakely  estimated  conservatively  that  there  were  twelve 
German  tanks  maneuvering  in  front  and  on  the  flanks  of  his  position. 
White  phosphorus  shells  were  employed  from  time  to  time  and  with 
these  two  panzers  were  damaged.  Both  of  them  moved  to  the  rear 
trailing  smoke. 

In  the  afternoon  rain  began  to  fall  steadily.  Untersie  Busch  was  soon 
a  quagmire  and  it  became  absolutely  impossible  for  the  TDs  to  find 
firm  standing.  One  of  the  vehicles  of  the  704th  fired  from  the  asphalt 
road  south  of  the  woods  against  the  tanks  near  Geisbusch  but  without 
result.  Another  TD  in  Sinz  was  worked  into  position  to  engage  the 


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227 


tanks  southeast  of  Bannholz.  After  several  rounds  one  enemy  tank 
was  hit  and  thereupon  the  other  withdrew. 

Within  the  woods,  Captains  Heath  and  Whitman  discussed  their 
situation  as  they  crouched  in  a  mud  hole.  Casualties  had  been  extremely 
heavy,  the  bazooka  ammunition  was  almost  expended  and  the  tanks 
were  becoming  bolder  by  the  minute.  To  the  right,  German  infantry 
was  infiltrating  the  position.  The  only  contact  with  battalion  was  by 
way  of  Captain  Blakely's  SCR-600  and  over  it  at  1330  hours,  Captain 
Whitman  requested  smoke  to  cover  a  withdrawal.  This  was  refused; 
the  captain  was  informed  that  reinforcements  were  coming.  As  the 
afternoon  wore  on,  the  situation  became  worse.  Lieutenant  Edward 
G.  Litka,  Weapons  Platoon  leader  of  Company  G,  volunteered  to 
return  to  the  battalion  command  post  to  emphasize  the  seriousness  of 
the  situation.  Shortly  after  he  left  the  woods  he  was  wounded  and 
crawled  back  into  Bannholz.  Eventually  he  made  his  way  into  Untersie 
Busch. 

At  1530  hours,  Captain  Whitman  again  radioed  battalion  on  the 
seriousness  of  the  situation.  Tank  activity  had  increased.  At  least  ten 
tanks  were  engaging  the  company  from  the  high  ground  to  the  north. 
Moreover,  the  enemy  had  accurately  zeroed  120mm  mortars  on  the 
area.  A  second  time,  the  captain  was  informed  that  reinforcements 
were  on  the  way. 

Meanwhile  in  Bannholz,  the  threat  of  a  counterattack  increased. 
Enemy  tanks  were  within  twenty-five  yards  of  the  edge  of  the  woods. 
With  perfect  impunity,  the  panzers  lumbered  up  and  down  the  road 
that  bordered  the  woods  searching  for  occupied  foxholes.  At  these 
they  would  blast  away  with  direct  fire  from  their  88s.  Private  Bernard 
F.  Moan  became  so  enraged  at  this  slaughter,  he  seized  the  one 
machine  gun  remaining  in  Company  G  and,  selecting  a  tank  that  was 
approaching  the  woods  for  a  strafing  run,  blazed  away  at  it.  Surprised, 
the  tank  halted,  buttoned  up  and  then  withdrew. 

At  1615  hours,  Captain  Whitman  informed  Captain  Heath  he  was 
going  back  to  meet  Company  E  which  was  moving  forward  to  rein- 
force the  position.  Captain  Whitman  had  been  wounded  more  than 
seven  hours  earlier  and  was  now  scarcely  able  to  walk.  The  remainder 
of  Company  F  was  therefore  attached  to  Captain  Heath's  command. 
About  this  time,  Sergeant  Manuel  M.  Delagoes  of  the  1st  Platoon 
arrived  bringing  a  wire  from  Untersie  Busch.  This  was  the  first  contact 
the  CO  had  with  any  member  of  this  platoon  all  day.  From  the  ser- 
geant he  learned  how  the  platoon  and  the  bazooka  teams  attached 
to  it  had  been  trapped  in  the  open.  The  NCO  related  that  some  of 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


the  group  managed  to  work  their  way  back  to  the  protection  of  a  crest 
to  their  rear,  but  the  rest  of  the  platoon  and  the  bazooka  teams  were 
either  killed  or  wounded  with  the  coming  of  full  daylight. 

By  telephone  Captain  Whitman  made  arrangements  to  meet  Captain 
Darrah  and  informed  Major  Dossenbach,  the  battalion  executive  offi- 
cer, of  the  exact  situation  in  the  woods. 

As  Captain  Whitman  made  his  way  to  the  rear,  the  enemy  counter- 
attacked with  tanks  and  infantry  from  the  north.  Company  Gs  forward 
positions  were  overrun  and  Sergeant  Malloy,  on  the  left  flank,  could 
see  enemy  infantry  massing  in  the  woods  to  his  front.  As  Captain 
Whitman  and  Sergeant  Scopoli  hobbled  to  the  rear,  some  of  the 
American  infantry  falling  back  through  the  woods  passed  them.  Resis- 
tance was  beginning  to  crumble. 

At  1655  hours  Company  E,  led  by  the  battalion  commander,  was  en 
route  from  Untersie  Busch  through  the  draw  to  Bannholz  when  it  met 
the  remnants  of  Companies  F  and  G  filtering  back.  It  was  a  pitifully 
small  group  to  be  called  two  companies.  Many  of  the  men  had  lost 
their  weapons  and  equipment.  They  were  all  mud-covered,  stunned, 
hollow-eyed  and  exhausted  after  hours  in  a  hell  of  flying  steel,  impotent 
against  the  repeated  close-in  attacks  of  the  German  armor. 

Further  advance  by  Company  E  was  halted,  for  the  withdrawal  from 
the  woods  necessitated  a  quick  change  in  plans.  By  1745  hours  a  new 
line  had  been  established  by  Companies  E  and  H  north  of  the  Sinz- 
Bubingen  road  in  Untersie  Busch  Woods.  The  plan  for  taking  Bann- 
holz was  abandoned  and  Companies  F  and  G  moved  into  Wies  to 
reorganize. 

The  attack  had  proved  a  costly  failure.  In  Company  F,  of  the  two 
platoons  and  the  light-machine-gun  section  that  managed  to  get  into 
Bannholz,  only  thirty-five  effectives  remained.  Lieutenant  George  Des- 
mans and  Lieutenant  Wilson  had  been  killed.  Captain  Whitman  and 
Lieutenants  Hawley  and  Mason  had  been  seriously  wounded.  Com- 
pany G  also  suffered  heavily.  Of  the  124  men  that  entered  the  attack, 
only  seventy-eight  returned  to  Untersie  Busch. 

At  1147  hours  on  the  morning  of  this  unsuccessful  attack  on  Bann- 
holz Woods,  Companies  I  and  K  of  the  301st  moved  forward  as 
planned,  to  protect  the  left  flank  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Martin's  bat- 
talion from  counterattack.  Only  light  resistance  was  encountered  dur- 
ing the  advance  and,  without  difficulty,  Captain  William  C.  Warren's 
company  placed  a  roadblock  across  the  trail  that  led  from  Adenholz 
Woods  to  Bannholz.   Antitank  mines  were  also  emplaced  and  the 


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230 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


Hagerty's  regiment  were  in  reserve  at  Veckring.  Colonel  McClune's 
men  held  the  left  flank  of  the  Division  assisted  by  Major  Stanion's 
1st  Battalion,  302d,  which  occupied  the  regiment's  left  boundary  north 
of  Wies.  Colonel  Thurston's  3d  Battalion  of  the  376th  held  the  center 
of  the  regimental  front  with  the  1st  Battalion  on  their  right  in  Sinz. 

Three  times  the  Division  had  attempted  to  take  Bannholz  Woods 
and  three  times  the  enemy  had  repelled  the  American  thrusts.  Each 
of  these  ventures  cost  dearly  in  men  and  equipment.  They  gained  no 
ground  for  the  Division,  but  they  did  further  weaken  the  Germans' 
ebbing  strength. 

Shortly  after  the  301st  Infantry  had  settled  in  Division  reserve  at 
Veckring,  Major  Samuel  H.  Hayes,  Assistant  G-3,  while  returning 
from  a  tour  of  the  front  lines,  stopped  and  examined  an  abandoned 
German  Mark  IV  in  the  town  of  Nennig.  Apparently  the  tank  was 
in  operating  condition.  Personnel  of  the  94th  Ordnance  Company  were 
sent  to  inspect  the  vehicle  and  found  that  it  could  be  moved  under 
its  own  power.  It  was  driven  back  to  Veckring  where  it  was  utilized 
as  a  training  aid  by  the  301st  Infantry.  The  problems  and  mistakes 
met  and  made  in  Bannholz  Woods  were  critiqued  at  length,  and  ex- 
periments conducted  with  the  tank  in  which  all  infantry  weapons 
were  used  against  it.  In  addition  to  the  stress  laid  on  tank  training, 
General  Malony  held  a  conference  on  the  14th  of  February  which  was 
attended  by  the  three  regimental  commanders;  Lieutenant  Colonel  Bid- 
well,  CO  of  the  704th  TD  Battalion;  and  some  of  his  company  com- 
manders. Infantry-TD  coordination  was  discussed  and  the  need  for  a 
better  understanding  of  the  basic  principles  underlying  the  employment 
of  each  arm  was  made  clear. 


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Chapter  25:  PILLBOXES  151,  152,  153 


FAILURE  OF  THE  2d  Battalion,  376th,  to  hold  Bannholz  Woods 
called  for  a  modification  of  the  basic  plan  set  forth  in  Division 
Field  Order  No.  10.  The  CG  estimated  that  since  the  bulk  of 
the  fighting  had  been  on  the  Division  left  and  center,  many  German 
units  had  been  shifted  to  that  side  of  the  line  from  the  east.  Moreover, 
it  was  apparent  that  Corps  would  soon  release  the  94th  for  use  as  a 
unit  against  the  Siegfried  Switch.  The  time  was  now  ripe  for  an  attack 
against  the  group  of  pillboxes  and  bunkers  east  of  Campholz  Woods, 
which  formed  the  strongest  part  of  the  well  sited  enemy  line  of  defen- 
sive positions,  for  in  all  likelihood  the  garrisons  of  these  fortifications 
had  been  considerably  weakened  to  reinforce  the  German  right.  This 
last  limited-objective  was  assigned  to  the  302d  whose  2d  Battalion  was 
to  attack  the  morning  of  the  15th. 

Between  the  9th  and  the  14th  of  February,  the  activities  of  the  302d 
in  Campholz  Woods  had  been  confined  to  minor  skirmishes  brought 
on  by  patrol  activity,  and  holding  the  woods  itself.  Company  B  of 
the  319th  Engineers  destroyed  the  pillboxes  west  of  Campholz  which 
the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  had  taken,  by  detonating  1,000-lb.  charges 
inside  the  concrete  structures. 

During  this  period  the  enemy  continued  to  deluge  Campholz  with 
perfectly  adjusted  artillery  and  mortar  fire;  mines  and  booby  traps 
which  were  thickly  strewn  throughout  the  area  inflicted  occasional 
casualties.  The  weather  remained  cold  and  wet.  Mud  in  the  woods 
was  knee-deep  in  places  and  holding  the  position  was  a  dirty,  dangerous 
task. 

On  February  9,  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion,  commanded  by  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Richard  P.  Sullivan,  was  attached  to  the  Division  for  use  in 
a  defensive  mission.  The  same  day  this  battalion  was  placed  under 
Colonel  Johnson's  control  and  relieved  the  1st  and  3d  Battalions,  302d, 
assuming  responsibility  for  approximately  ten  thousand  yards  of  front- 
age on  the  right  flank  of  the  Division.  To  deceive  the  enemy  as  to 
the  strength  of  force  holding  this  extended  position,  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Sullivan  immediately  began  active  patrolling,  harassing  the  enemy 
positions  to  his  front. 

Upon  being  relieved  by  the  Rangers,  the  3d  Battalion,  302d  was 
placed  in  regimental  reserve  and  the  1st  Battalion  reverted  to  Division 
reserve.  The  following  day,  February  10,  1945,  the  latter  battalion 
was  attached  to  the  301st  Infantry  and  moved  to  Apach.  On  the  11th, 
Company  F  of  the  302d  was  relieved  in  the  Tettingen-Butzdorf  area 
and  moved  to  some  farm  houses  in  the  vicinity  of  Borg.  The  following 
day  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  relieved  the  remainder  of  the  2d  Battalion 

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of  the  pillbox  area  to  rbe  east  arid  northeast  of  Girophols  Woods. 
A  saikjfahle model  of  the  :  pinhole*  wj^  constructed tit  the Wtftffim\Q 


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PILLBOXES  151,  152,  153 


233 


Joseph  F.  Cody's  HMG  platoon  backing  Company  Es  assault.  Diver- 
sionary attacks  were  to  be  launched  by  the  376th  to  the  west  and  the 
5th  Ranger  Battalion  to  the  east;  during  the  attack,  the  3d  Battalion, 
302d,  was  to  continue  holding  Campholz  Woods.  The  301st  Field 
Artillery  and  Company  C  of  the  81st  Chemical  Mortar  Battalion  were 
to  support  the  operation.  H-hour  was  designated  for  0600  hours  on 
the  15th. 

At  midnight  on  the  14th,  Company  F  moved  by  truck  to  Borg;  from 
there  Captain  Kops'  men  marched  into  Campholz  Woods.  By  0300 
hours  they  were  in  their  forward  assembly  area.  Companies  E  and 
H  had  followed  Company  F.  Just  prior  to  H-hour,  the  silence  and 
darkness  were  shattered.  To  the  east  there  was  mortar  fire  and  to 
the  west  heavy  artillery  fell.  Obviously,  the  demonstrations  that  were 
to  be  launched  by  the  flank  units  had  jumped  the  gun.  In  the  dozen- 
or-so  minutes  that  remained  before  the  men  were  to  leave  the  shelter 
of  Campholz  Woods,  the  assault  groups  under  Lieutenant  Alvarado 
huddled  in  the  communication  trenches  that  were  their  line  of  depar- 
ture. Many  of  the  men  were  reinforcements  who  had  just  recently  joined 
the  battalion.  As  they  waited  for  the  order  to  move  forward,  an  intense 
German  mortar  and  artillery  concentration  hit  the  eastern  edge  of 
Campholz.  At  the  same  time,  heavy  machine-gun  fire  poured  into  the 
woods  from  their  front.  Under  this  unnerving  fire,  many  of  the  new 
men  scattered  into  the  woods  and  among  the  tributaries  of  the  com- 
munication trenches.  The  unit  was  thoroughly  disorganized  and  be- 
cause of  this  intense  fire,  which  continued  throughout  the  day  causing 
many  wound  and  concussion  casualties,  it  was  midafternoon  before  the 
company  was  able  to  reorganize  and  push  out  of  the  woods  toward 
its  objective.  Later  it  was  learned  from  a  captured  German  artillery- 
man that  the  enemy's  fire  plan  for  Campholz  Woods  called  for  six  box 
concentrations.  These  covered  the  northeastern  and  northwestern  por- 
tions of  the  woods.  They  were  fired  on  the  least  noise  or  suspicion  of 
American  movement. 

Company  E  met  with  much  better  success.  Just  prior  to  daylight, 
the  3d  Platoon  moved  east  and  took  the  occupants  of  pillbox  152  by 
complete  surprise.  A  phosphorus  grenade  was  thrown  into  the  box 
and  this  set  fire  to  some  ammunition.  Quickly  the  defenders  capitulated 
and  twenty-five  prisoners  were  taken.  Lieutenant  Butler's  men,  who 
had  been  following  the  3d  Platoon,  moved  forward  rapidly  and  seized 
their  objectives  with  little  trouble,  following  which,  Lieutenant  Smith's 
platoon  reduced  pillbox  94.   At  0730  hours,  Colonel  Johnson  was 


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•  wiirrf  rrnntrft  ■  itfVitt  ■  iim  i    I  f  Mfillfll 


lift 


four  bunker?  had  been  won  from  the  enemy. 

Thetompauy  C  P  was  eitahiisherd  w  H2  anil  Lieutenant  'Lewies  sent 
one  m  'i'-j-  se-uadv  ia  the  Hi  Platoon  to  assist  •  Lieutenant  Butler's 
in  -arns^mip  tht  pillboxes  and  bunkers  .they  had  c 


UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN  . 


PILLBOXES  151,  152,  153 


235 


leave  the  woods.  They  slowly  worked  their  way  along  a  series  of 
communication  trenches  to  a  point  southeast  of  151-  From  here  they 
met  with  nothing  but  failure.  There  was  no  cover  and  both  151  and 
153  were  alerted  for  an  American  attack  following  the  reduction  of 
152  and  its  supporting  installations  to  the  south.  Lieutenant  Alvarado's 
men  managed  to  direct  bazooka  fire  against  153  but  this  ricocheted 
harmlessly  off  the  pillbox.  Tank  destroyer  support  that  had  been  ex- 
pected did  not  materialize  and  the  enemy  constantly  swept  the  pre- 
carious positions  in  the  communication  trench  wih  fire.  Late  in  the 
afternoon,  word  was  received  that  battalion  was  preparing  a  night 
attack.  As  best  they  could,  the  men  dug  positions  in  the  eighteen-inch 
deep  communication  trench  and  waited  for  nightfall.  About  2000  hours 
enemy  tanks  were  heard  to  the  front.  As  the  panzers  moved  in  the 
assault  group  pulled  back  to  the  woods.  En  route,  Lieutenant  Charles 
P.  Davis  was  wounded  and  lost  in  the  darkness. 

At  the  same  time,  Company  E  became  aware  of  the  enemy  armor. 
Thirty  minutes  later  this  unit  informed  battalion  that  the  panzers  were 
directly  in  front  of  the  company  position.  Lieutenant  Meyer  requested 
artillery  support  as  Company  E's  only  antitank  defense  was  one  flame 
thrower  and  some  Panzerfausts  which  no  one  knew  how  to  operate. 
The  301st  Field  Artillery  replied  promptly  and  accurately  with  fire 
which  drove  the  tanks  back. 

The  bunkers  taken  by  Company  E  had  formerly  been  held  by  the 
2d  Company  of  the  713th  Grenadier  Regiment  and  the  commanding 
officer  of  that  unit  was  made  personally  responsible  for  regaining  these 
positions.  Shortly  after  midnight  on  the  16th,  following  a  short  mortar 
and  artillery  barrage,  the  Germans  attacked.  Using  a  small  draw  as 
an  avenue  of  approach,  approximately  one  hundred  infantry  supported 
by  ten  tanks  and  self-propelled  guns,  moved  south  along  the  east  side 
of  the  Borg-Kirf  road.  When  abreast  of  Company  E's  position  they 
turned  west  and  launched  their  assault  against  Lieutenant  Butler's  posi- 
tion. At  the  time  the  attack  struck,  Lieutenant  Butler  was  at  the 
company  command  post  in  152. 

Moving  up  to  the  bunkers  and  pillboxes,  the  armored  vehicles 
employed  their  88s  with  telling  effect.  As  flares  lit  the  scene,  from 
152  enemy  armor  could  be  seen  roaming  the  entire  area.  Frantically, 
Lieutenant  Meyer  called  for  artillery  fire  upon  and  around  the  com- 
mand post.  To  the  east  Lieutenant  Smith  withdrew  his  men  from  the 
bunker  they  were  holding.  Subsequently  he  was  ordered  to  reoccupy 
this  position  and  did  so. 

Private  First  Class  Wayne  N.  Woolman  managed  to  load  one  of 


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236 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


the  Panzerfausts  and  with  it  in  his  hand,  he  dashed  into  the  open  to 
fire  at  a  German  tank  between  Pillboxes  152  and  10,  scoring  a  hit 
which  knocked  out  the  vehicle.  Technical  Sergeant  Tommy  Nettles  and 
the  men  with  him  in  one  of  the  captured  bunkers  were  forced  to  sur- 
render when  the  muzzle  of  an  88  was  thrust  directly  into  the  bunker 
they  were  occupying. 

To  the  east  of  the  German  attack,  on  the  outskirts  of  Oberleuken, 
Lieutenant  Joseph  P.  Castor,  III,  of  Company  G,  had  been  maintaining 
a  listening  post  to  warn  of  any  enemy  attack  coming  from  the  direction 
of  Kirf.  This  outpost  early  heard  and  reported  the  movement  of  the 
German  tanks  and  a  patrol  dispatched  from  this  point  provided  the 
artillery  with  exact  information  regarding  the  panzers.  Protective  bar- 
rages laid  by  the  301st  Field  Artillery  proved  particularly  effective. 
Several  self-propelled  guns  were  knocked  out  and  heavy  casualties  were 
inflicted  on  the  attacking  infantry.  But,  despite  this  support  the  German 
attack  retook  one  small  pillbox  and  three  bunkers  that  had  been  seized 
by  Lieutenant  Butler's  men  the  previous  morning. 

About  0200  hours,  the  enemy  tanks  and  infantry  attacked  a  second 
time.  Artillery  was  fired  around  pillbox  152  and  the  men  of  Company 
E  employed  every  weapon  they  could  muster.  After  a  fierce  encounter 
the  Germans  were  driven  back  with  heavy  losses. 

Inside  152  there  remained  only  eleven  effectives  after  this  second 
attack.  There  had  been  no  word  or  sign  of  reinforcement.  Lieutenant 
Anderson  informed  battalion  that  he  was  going  to  evacuate  the  posi- 
tion and  withdraw  to  the  woods.  Shortly  thereafter,  carrying  their  five 
wounded  with  them,  these  men  of  Company  E  made  their  way  back  to 
Campholz  Woods. 

Lieutenant  Alvarado  and  the  officers  of  Company  F  had  with  some 
difficulty  reassembled  the  company  and  taken  positions  in  the  northern 
part  of  Campholz  Woods.  Technical  Sergeant  Howard  J.  Morten  of 
the  2d  Platoon  and  Technician  Fourth  Grade  Oscar  E.  Summerford, 
a  medic,  searched  the  edge  of  the  woods,  in  the  inky  blackness,  for 
Lieutenant  Davis.  They  finally  found  the  wounded  officer  and  assisted 
him  to  the  aid  station. 

During  the  early  morning  hours,  Staff  Sergeant  William  R.  Moon 
led  a  patrol  from  Lieutenant  Castor's  listening  post  to  destroy  a  120mm 
mortar  position  that  had  been  particularly  bothersome.  The  enemy's 
habit  of  leaving  their  mortars  unguarded  while  they  took  shelter  in 
their  pillboxes  and  bunkers  worked  in  the  patrol's  favor.  They  slipped 
up  to  the  installation  in  question,  destroying  the  mortar  without  inter- 
ference from  its  crew.   On  its  way  back  to  the  listening  post,  the 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


.  mis 


■ 


As  ^  result  of  their  sticks  the  Germans  haJ  retaken  tw't;  pillboxes 
ua J;  tour  ■'bublcejs.;  To  acoajipl rsl>  .*hfo;  they  .s^ntia^l-.^ix  mck-l^yiB^ 


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•     UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


238 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


holz  Woods,  Kirf,  and  the  woods  east  of  Kreuzweiler.  Following  this 
they  strafed  Kreuzweiler,  Dilmar,  Orsholz  and  Bannholz  Woods.  Two 
enemy  tanks  were  damaged,  and  fires  started  in  Kreuzweiler,  Beuren 
and  Kirf.  Das  Lee  Woods  and  Oberleuken  were  bombed  on  the  16th 
and  17th  and  in  addition,  on  the  latter  day  Kirf,  Munzingen,  Mosch- 
holz  Woods  and  Der  Langen  Woods  were  strafed. 

To  summarize,  during  the  period  from  January  7,  1945,  when  the 
Division  took  over  positions  in  the  Triangle,  to  February  15,  1945, 
the  men  of  the  94th  had  practically  destroyed  the  4l6th  Infantry 
Division,  reduced  the  infantry  and  tank  strength  of  the  11th  Panzer 
Division  by  one-half,  prevented  the  disengagement  of  sizable  portions 
of  enemy  armor  for  employment  elsewhere,  and  compelled  the  diver- 
sion of  badly  needed  German  infantry  replacements  to  the  Siegfried 
Switch.  All  arms  and  services  of  the  94th  contributed  to  these  results. 
In  particular,  as  was  consistently  revealed  by  PW  statements,  the  artil- 
lery had  proved  itself  a  tremendously  effective  supporting  weapon. 


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Chapter  26:  SHOOT  THE  WORKS! 


N  FEBRUARY  15,  while  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  was  fighting 


in  and  east  of  Campholz  Woods,  the  CG  of  XX  Corps  visited 


the  battalion  command  post  in  Borg.  While  there,  General 
Walker  informed  General  Malony,  who  was  also  present,  that  all 
restrictions  as  to  the  force  the  Division  might  commit  had  been  lifted. 
The  CG  of  the  94th  was  free  to  ,fshoot  the  works."  For  the  first  time 
since  arriving  in  Third  Army,  General  Malony  had  the  entire  combat 
strength  of  the  Division  free  for  offensive  operations. 

That  night  at  Sierck  the  Division  Commander  called  the  Chief  of 
Staff,  Colonel  Bergquist,  and  his  G-3  into  conference.  Previously  they 
had  discussed  the  general  form  of  a  coordinated  division  attack — the 
logical  culmination  of  the  attrition  policy.  Now  the  time  had  come 
to  make  the  minor  changes  necessary  to  fit  the  overall  plan  to  the  exist- 
ing situation  and  to  prepare  a  directive  for  the  General  Staff  sections, 
based  upon  which  the  latter  would  draw  coordinated  orders. 

Confronting  the  Division  at  this  time  were  the  remnants  of  the  41 6th 
Infantry  Division  and  the  256th  Volksgrenadier  Division.  There  had 
been  no  contact  with  the  11th  Panzer  Division  since  the  9th  of  February 
and  higher  headquarters  insisted  it  was  no  longer  in  the  Triangle. 
Major  Carl  S.  Schofield,  who  had  taken  over  as  G-2  when  Colonel  Love 
was  wounded  at  Butzdorf,  maintained  that  since  the  11th  had  not  been 
identified  elsewhere,  it  might  still  be  right  behind  the  Switch  Line  and 
the  possibility  of  its  commitment  against  the  94th  must  be  considered. 

The  plan  of  attack,  when  completely  developed  and  produced  as 
Field  Order  No.  11,  dated  February  16,  1945,  called  for  a  coordinated 
Division  attack,  three  regiments  abreast,  on  a  relatively  narrow  front 
at  0400  hours  on  the  morning  of  the  19th.  To  accomplish  the  massing 
of  forces,  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop  with  the  Defense  Platoon 
of  the  Division  Headquarters  Company  and  a  platoon  of  the  465th 
AAA  Battalion  attached,  was  to  relieve  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  on 
the  Division's  west  flank  in  front  of  Thorn  and  Kreuzweiler.  The  5th 
Ranger  Battalion  was  to  be  responsible  for  that  portion  of  the  front 
extending  from  Borg  east  to  Nohn. 

The  301st  Infantry,  which  was  in  Division  reserve,  was  to  make  the 
main  effort.  It  was  to  drive  east  from  Sinz,  Butzdorf  and  Tettingen, 
storm  the  heights  of  Munzingen  Ridge  and  sweep  on  to  seize  Faha 
and  Munzingen.  The  302d  Infantry  was  to  push  from  Campholz 
Woods,  reducing  the  pillbox  area  to  the  east  between  the  woods  and 
Oberleuken.  Colonel  Johnson's  men  would  then  continue  east  and  settle 
accounts  with  the  enemy  in  Orsholz.  Bannholz  Woods  was  to  be  taken 
by  the  376th  Infantry.  The  regiment  would  then  drive  eastward  up 


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SHOOT  THE  WORKS! 


241 


Munzingen  Ridge  to  seize  Der  Langen  Woods  southwest  of  Kirf. 
Throughout  this  operation,  Colonel  McClune's  men  were  to  protect 
the  left  or  north  flank  of  the  Division  during  the  coordinated  drive 
to  the  east.  The  376th  was  to  motorize  one  battalion  and  place  it  in 
regimental  reserve  to  be  committed  only  on  Division  order.  This  was 
to  be  the  all-out  effort  to  penetrate  and  roll  up  the  Switch  Line. 

While  the  infantry  attack  was  being  planned  at  Sierck,  far  to  the 
rear  Brigadier  General  Julius  E.  Slack,  the  CG  of  XX  Corps  Artillery; 
General  Fortier,  the  Division  Artillery  Commander;  and  their  staffs 
were  formulating  a  fire-support  plan.  An  arbitrary  line,  approximately 
five  thousand  yards  in  advance  of  the  Division  front,  was  drawn  on 
the  map.  Corps  artillery  undertook  to  engage  all  targets  beyond  this 
line  while  Division  artillery  was  to  fire  on  targets  short  of  it.  It  was 
directed  that  in  the  interest  of  preserving  the  element  of  surprise,  no 
firing  should  be  done  prior  to  H-hour.  Initially,  Corps'  fire  was  to  be 
placed  on  all  known  enemy  command  posts,  to  disrupt  hostile  com- 
munications and  command.  After  fifteen  minutes  of  such  fire,  hostile 
battery  positions  were  to  be  engaged  for  thirty  minutes  with  a  maxi- 
mum volume  of  fire.  Thereafter,  neutralization  of  enemy  battery  posi- 
tions was  to  be  continued  for  another  hour.  For  the  next  ten  hours  fire 
was  to  be  placed  on  main  routes  of  approach  to  the  battle  area.  These 
last  eleven  hours  of  fire  were  planned  with  sufficient  elasticity  to  pro- 
vide on-call  fire  for  targets  of  opportunity. 

That  portion  of  the  fire  plan  calling  for  ten  hours  of  fire  on 
probable  routes  of  enemy  approach  was  in  the  nature  of  an  experi- 
ment. Due  to  the  fact  that  the  attack  was  to  be  delivered  into  a 
corridor  less  than  ten  miles  wide,  between  the  Saar  and  Moselle 
Rivers,  it  seemed  practical  to  attempt  the  isolation  of  the  battlefield 
by  interdiction  fire  placed  at  focal  points  on  all  roads  leading  into 
the  enemy's  main  battle  position.  The  bulk  of  this  fire  was  to  be 
delivered  on  towns  and  road  intersections.  It  was  felt  that  if  this 
fire  could  be  maintained  for  a  sufficient  length  of  time  the  enemy 
would  not  only  be  prevented  from  reinforcing  and  resupplying  his 
front-line  positions,  but  in  the  event  of  a  general  retreat  would  be 
forced  to  abandon  the  majority  of  his  wheeled  vehicles  and  heavy 
weapons. 

The  fire  plan  within  the  Division,  based  on  the  hard-won  experi- 
ence of  the  preceding  weeks  of  fighting,  called  for  an  integration 
of  all  artillery  means  available.  For  this  purpose  the  cannon  com- 
panies of  the  301st  and  302d  were  attached  to  Division  Artillery. 
Organic  infantry  antitank  guns  were  to  fire  initially  as  field  artillery 


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242 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


and  the  774th  Tank  Destroyer  Battalion  was  to  be  placed  in  an  artil- 
lery general-support  role.  For  the  first  thirty  minutes  after  H-hour, 
all  these  units  were  to  fire  at  the  maximum  sustained  rate  on  enemy 
front-line  positions,  command  posts,  routes  of  approach,  assembly  areas, 
mortar  and  machine-gun  positions  and  known  strongpoints.  Continued 
neutralization  of  the  more  critical  of  these  targets  was  to  be  provided, 
subject  to  interruption  in  favor  of  on-call  fires  requested  by  forward 
observers  or  from  ground  or  air  observation  posts. 

All  infantry  units  were  instructed  to  increase  their  patrol  activity. 
Reconnaissance  was  pushed  to  the  utmost,  to  gain  maximum  informa- 
tion concerning  enemy  defenses.  Nightly  two  and  three-man  patrols 
moved  out  along  the  entire  front  probing  the  enemy  line.  In  particular, 
information  was  vitally  needed  on  enemy  strength  in  Bannholz  Woods 
and  on  the  presence  of  enemy  armor  in  the  Triangle.  The  pillbox  area 
east  of  Campholz  Woods,  assigned  to  the  302d,  and  the  Bannholz- 
Adenholz  Woods  area,  assigned  to  the  376th,  had  already  been  thor- 
oughly explored  in  previous  attacks.  But  Munzingen  Ridge,  assigned  to 
the  301st,  had  never  been  investigated.  As  this  was  the  objective  of 
the  main  thrust,  it  was  most  important  that  intelligence  as  to  German 
strength  and  installations  in  this  region  be  gathered  quickly.  The  1st 
and  3d  Battalions,  301st,  which  had  been  assigned  the  initial  objectives, 
patrolled  east  from  Sinz  and  Butzdorf  aggressively.  They  made  a 
thorough  search  of  the  approaches  to  the  ridge,  accurately  locating 
many  of  the  enemy's  minefields,  barbed-wire  entanglements  and  out- 
post positions.  One  patrol  penetrated  to  Das  Lee  Woods  atop  the 
ridge.  Working  their  way  along  the  edge  of  a  minefield,  some  fifty 
yards  in  front  of  the  woods,  the  patrol  members  were  able  to  chart 
exactly  the  position  of  a  majority  of  the  German  strong  points  within 
the  woods. 

On  the  night  before  the  attack,  Sergeant  Frederick  J.  Ramondini,  of 
the  301st's  I&R  Platoon,  led  a  small  reconnaissance  patrol  out  of  Sinz. 
This  group  worked  north  up  the  draw  that  leads  out  of  town  to  a 
point  where  they  had  outflanked  the  defenses  of  Das  Lee  Woods.  Then 
they  turned  east  and  cautiously  proceeded  up  Munzingen  Ridge.  Crawl- 
ing on  their  bellies,  they  worked  their  way  over  the  crest  between  Das 
Lee  and  Der  Langen  Woods.  From  there  the  patrol  advanced  down 
the  far  slope,  across  the  Borg-Kirf  highway  and  slipped  into  Munz- 
ingen. In  town,  they  moved  from  building  to  building  in  the  deeper 
shadows.  Behind  the  darkened  windows,  German  voices  could  be 
clearly  heard.  Once  a  door  opened  noisily  and  the  patrol  froze  until 
the  German  who  came  from  the  house  walked  up  the  street  away  from 


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SHOOT  THE  WORKS! 


243 


the  I&R  men.  The  troops  then  continued  on  their  mission.  Between 
two  of  the  buildings  loomed  a  huge  black  hulk.  Farther  down  the 
street,  between  other  buildings,  were  more  massive  shapes.  The  patrol 
had  the  information  it  sought.  There  were  tanks  in  Munzingen.  With 
this  valuable  information  they  withdrew  from  town  and  cautiously 
began  to  tread  the  three  thousand  yards  back  to  Sinz.  They  returned 
safely  with  their  vital  knowledge. 

XX  Corps  had  been  exerting  strong  pressure  to  launch  the  coming 
attack  on  the  18th,  but  on  the  persistent  recommendations  of  the  Divi- 
sion Commander  the  following  day  was  designated.  Time  available 
for  ground  reconnaissance  was  used  by  all  units  to  the  greatest  advan- 
tage. Relief  maps  were  prepared  for  each  headquarters  down  to  and 
including  battalions.  Plans  of  every  town  along  the  Division  front  were 
secured  and  passed  out.  Patrol  information  was  plotted  on  sandtables 
and  every  platoon  commander  had  a  chance  to  orient  his  men  to  a 
point  where  they  knew  exactly  where  they  were  to  go  and  what  to  do. 
Meanwhile,  there  was  a  careful  reshuffling  o£*  troops.  Command  posts 
were  moved  as  close  to  the  line  of  departure  as  practicable  and  patrol- 
ling continued.  The  detailed  planning  and  exhaustive  preparations 
instilled  a  spirit  of  confidence  in  all  ranks.  As  a  unit  the  Division  was 
facing  its  greatest  test.  This  time  the  Siegfried  Switch  Line  would  be 
breached.  There  would  be  no  more  opportunity  for  the  Germans  to 
concentrate  every  piece  of  artillery,  every  mortar  and  every  tank  against 
a  small  portion  of  the  Division  in  the  attack.  This  time  the  94th  was 
to  show  what  it  could  do  working  as  a  unit.  The  so-called  offensive- 
defense  was  ended. 


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Chapter  27:  FEBRUARY  19:  INITIAL  OBJECTIVES 


SOON  AFTER  DARK  on  the  evening  of  February  18,  1945,  the 
Division  rear  area  became  a  moving  mass  of  men  and  equipment. 
All  elements  gravitated  toward  the  front.  By  midnight  the  infan- 
try units  were  in  position  to  move  to  their  forward  assembly  areas  and 
the  lines  of  departure.  The  artillery  was  poised;  ready  for  its  most 
important  shoot  to  date — the  now  famous  15,000-round  artillery  prepa- 
ration for  a  single  division  attack. 

301st  Infantry 

Making  the  main  effort  for  the  regiment,  the  3d  Battalion,  301st, 
left  Sinz  at  0200  hours  and  began  the  long  climb  up  the  ridge  to  its 
line  of  departure.  Das  Lee  Woods  which  surmounted  Munzingen  Ridge 
was  the  initial  objective  of  the  battalion.  Company  L  led  the  way, 
closely  followed  by  Company  K.  En  route  some  of  the  men  of  the  lead- 
ing company  noticed  a  mortar  position  to  their  flank,  and  as  the  com- 
pany spread  out  on  the  line  of  departure,  Lieutenant  John  R.  Fraboni 
asked  Captain  Paul  E.  Frierson  if  the  battalion's  mortars  had  moved 
forward  during  the  night.  Upon  receiving  a  negative  answer,  the  lieu- 
tenant instructed  the  rear  platoon  to  investigate  the  situation.  A  sur- 
prised group  of  Germans  was  quickly  rounded  up. 

The  designated  line  of  departure  was  along  the  military  crest  of 
the  ridge.  In  the  darkness  Company  L  took  position  on  the  left  and 
Company  K  on  the  right.  Meanwhile,  the  reserve  company  sent  one 
platoon  to  protect  the  battalion's  flank.  Silhouetted  against  the  top  of 
the  ridge  some  six  hundred  yards  to  the  front  was  Das  Lee  Woods, 
through  which  the  enemy  had  set  up  his  new  defense  line.  The  line 
of  departure  was  quickly  outposted  and  the  assault  companies  waited 
for  H-hour. 

At  0400  hours  the  attack's  artillery  preparation  crashed  into  Das  Lee 
Woods  and  with  the  opening  rounds  the  infantry  began  their  advance 
up  the  steep  slope.  Firing  into  the  darkness,  the  companies  moved 
forward.  Company  L,  upon  reaching  the  minefield  in  front  of  the 
woods,  discovered  a  cleared  lane  used  by  enemy  tanks.  Treading  the 
tanks  tracks  they  passed  through  safely  while  Company  K  blasted  its 
path  through  this  obstacle  with  primacord.  Enemy  resistance  along  the 
edge  of  the  woods  was  extremely  feeble.  The  infantry  moved  into  Das 
Lee  and  without  halting  swept  to  its  eastern  edge.  Units  then  dug 
positions  and  dispatched  patrols  to  the  rear  to  comb  the  woods  thor- 
oughly for  any  lurking  Germans.  In  this  manner  twenty-six  prisoners 
were  rounded  up.  By  0730  hours,  the  woods  had  been  completely 
searched.  The  assault  companies  established  contact  and  consolidated 

244 


Go  glc 


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FEBRUARY  19:  INITIAL  OBJECTIVES 


245 


the  position  as  enemy  artillery,  mortars,  and  rockets  began  to  rain  upon 
them. 

The  1st  Battalion,  301st,  assigned  to  take  that  portion  of  the  ridge 
south  of  Das  Lee  Wods,  moved  north  out  of  Butzdorf  in  a  column  of 
companies,  up  the  Butzdorf-Sinz  road.  Just  south  of  Sinz  the  battalion 
turned  east  at  a  small  draw.  Company  C,  which  had  been  leading, 
deployed  north  of  the  draw  while  Company  B  formed  south  of  it. 

As  Company  C  moved  forward  to  the  attack  at  0400  hours  it  encoun- 
tered mines  and  was  subjected  to  heavy  mortar  fire.  Many  casualties 
were  caused  particularly  in  the  1st  Platoon;  Lieutenant  Walter  M. 
Stempak,  commanding  the  platoon,  was  among  those  wounded.  There- 
fore, Captain  Drenzek  withdrew  the  company  and  circled  the  minefield 
to  the  north.  Then  the  company  pushed  forward  rapidly,  fearing  to 
be  caught  on  the  slope  in  full  view  of  the  enemy  with  the  coming  of 
daylight.  Upon  reaching  the  top  of  the  ridge,  the  company  commander 
discovered  he  had  veered  to  the  north  in  avoiding  the  minefield.  Com- 
pany C  therefore  swung  to  the  right  and  proceeded  south,  sweeping 
the  top  of  the  ridge.  As  soon  as  it  reached  its  assigned  objective, 
Company  C  prepared  defensive  positions.  Captain  Drenzek  had  been 
wounded  in  coming  up  the  slope  and  Lieutenant  Howard  Johnson 
assumed  command.  To  the  company's  front  were  some  trenches  that 
had  not  been  searched.  Accompanied  by  Private  First  Class  Albert 
Dionne,  the  acting  company  commander  went  forward  to  investigate. 
It  was  soon  obvious  that  these  trenches  were  occupied  and  that  the 
Germans  in  them  did  not  intend  to  surrender.  Both  men  withdrew 
and  mortar  fire  was  brought  to  bear.  As  this  fire  lifted,  the  enemy 
troops  thought  better  of  their  original  decision. 

Company  B  deployed  in  its  zone  with  the  1st  Platoon  on  the  left,  the 
2d  on  the  right  and  the  3d  in  reserve.  At  0400  hours  it  moved  forward 
with  Company  C.  Commanded  by  Lieutenant  Arthur  A.  Shocksnyder, 
the  2d  Platoon  suffered  fifteen  casualties  in  as  many  minutes  from 
American  mortar  fire  which  fell  short.  At  about  the  same  time,  the 
1st  Platoon  encountered  trouble.  Staff  Sergeant  John  R.  Koellhopper  of 
the  latter  unit  continues  the  story: 

Suddenly  a  mine  went  off  killing  the  scout,  and  the  platoon  leader  set  two 
men  to  probing  for  the  edge  of  the  field.  No  sooner  had  they  started  than 
they  were  blown  up.  The  explosions  alerted  the  Krauts  in  a  bunker  not  fifty 
yards  away  and  their  machine  gun  opened  up  at  point-blank  range.  Men  hit 
the  ground  setting  off  more  mines  as  they  landed.  Legs  and  feet  were  blown 
away.  Men  began  screaming.  Others  cried,  "Medic!  Medic!"  The  men  were 
trapped.  They  couldn't  move  a  hand  or  foot  for  fear  of  hitting  a  Scbii  mine. 


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246  THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 

The  enemy  was  throwing  mortars  and  88s  and  that  machine  gun  was  adding 
to  the  hell.  The  lieutenant  was  badly  wounded.  One  of  the  men  who  had 
lost  both  legs  was  crying,  "Get  me  out  of  here.  God!  Oh  God!  Get  me  out 
of  here!"  The  platoon  sergeant  [Technical  Sergeant  Henry  E.  Crandall]  was 
desperately  trying  to  make  a  path  through  the  minefield.  Another  man  trying 
to  move  set  off  another  mine.  As  this  man  looked  down  at  what  was  left  of 
his  two  feet  he  started  crying  like  a  baby — not  screaming,  but  crying.  He 
didn't  seem  to  be  in  pain,  the  shock  must  have  been  too  much  just  then. 
Another  Yank  lay  there,  his  bottom  half  a  hell  of  a  shape.  All  he  kept  doing 
was  begging  his  buddy  to  shoot  him.  "Shoot  me.  Please  shoot  me.  Damn  it, 
can't  you  see  I'm  no  good  any  more?"  Still  another  man  who  was  badly 
wounded  was  begging  his  buddy  for  his  overcoat.  "I'm  cold.  Damn,  I'm  cold! 
Give  me  your  overcoat,  won't  you?  Oh  please  .  .  .  please  give  me  your  coat?" 
"The  bastards!  The  dirty  bastards!  Won't  they  ever  stop?"  cried  another  voice 
as  more  and  more  mortar  shells  came  pouring  in.  The  machine  gun  firing  from 
the  bunker  had  stopped  and  the  Krauts  were  shouting  something  in  German. 
One  Yank  could  understand  them.  They  were  hollering,  "It  hurts,  doesn't  it? 
It  hurts!"  The  platoon  sergeant  had  heroically  blasted  a  path  through  the  mine- 
field and  was  leading  the  platoon  to  the  far  edge  of  the  field.  More  men  were 
lost  by  the  time  the  platoon  had  cleared  the  field.  Now  they  were  able  to  get 
at  those  bunkers.  But,  no !  As  the  platoon  moved  up  on  the  bunkers,  the  Krauts 
quit.  The  objective  had  been  reached  and  there  were  sixteen  men  left." 

Meanwhile,  the  2d  Platoon  on  the  right  began  the  encirclement  of 
an  enemy  bunker  in  its  zone.  One  German  was  killed  as  he  bolted 
from  the  position  and  the  rest  of  the  enemy  decided  to  surrender.  They 
moved  toward  the  1st  Platoon  to  give  themselves  up.  In  doing  so  they 
ran  into  their  own  minefield.  Mines  were  detonated  and  casualties 
caused  among  the  prisoners. 

As  Staff  Sergeant  Robert  J.  Cook  and  Private  First  Class  John  M. 
Lawton  approached  a  bunker  surrounded  by  trenches,  two  Germans 
manning  the  position  came  out  to  surrender.  Just  then  an  artillery  shell 
began  its  descent.  The  Germans  immediately  took  cover  in  one  of  the 
trenches.  After  the  shell  burst,  they  again  attempted  to  surrender  only 
to  have  the  artillery  interrupt  the  proceedings  a  second  time.  This 
scene  was  repeated  much  to  the  annoyance  of  Private  First  Class  Law- 
ton.  To  convince  the  POWs-to-be  that  the  artillery  was  not  their  only 
threat,  he  fired  a  shot  in  their  direction.  This  still  did  not  have  the 
desired  effect.  The  frightened  enemy  quickly  seized  their  discarded 
weapons  and  returned  fire.  Lawton  was  wounded  in  the  thumb  and 
as  he  attempted  to  fire  a  second  round  his  weapon  jammed.  In  disgust, 
he  threw  the  useless  rifle  at  the  Germans  who  then  dropped  their 
weapons  and  surrendered. 

As  dawn  began  to  break,  the  tanks  of  the  778th  Tank  Battalion 
attached  to  the  1st  Battalion  moved  forward  along  the  Tettingen-Sinz 


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247 


road.  At  Sinz  they  swung  east  and  began  to  climb  the  ridge.  To  the 
rear  of  Company  B,  one  of  the  tanks  struck  a  mine  and  another  bogged 
down  attempting  to  bypass  the  stalled  vehicle.  By  maneuvering  the 
rest  of  the  armor  found  firm  standing  and  assisted  the  company  in 
clearing  the  ridge. 

Company  A,  in  battalion  reserve,  was  given  the  mission  of  clearing 
the  pillboxes  in  the  battalion  zone  south  of  the  Sinz-Oberleuken  road 
and  of  maintaining  contact  with  the  302d  Infantry  on  the  right.  To 
accomplish  the  latter  task,  the  1st  Platoon  took  positions  on  the  hill 
between  Butzdorf  and  Campholz  Woods.  The  remaining  platoons  of 
the  company  were  organized  into  assault  teams  under  Lieutenant  Robert 
H.  Wolf  to  carry  out  the  company's  principal  mission.  This  force 
headed  up  the  draw  that  led  east  from  Butzdorf.  As  the  platoons 
moved  into  the  open,  two  enemy  machine  guns  caught  them  in  a  vicious 
crossfire.  With  daylight  approaching,  Staff  Sergant  Ichiro  Matsuzawa 
crawled  unnoticed  toward  the  nearest  machine  gun,  lobbed  a  grenade 
and  then  charged  the  position.  Two  of  the  machine-gun  crew  were 
killed  by  the  grenade  and  the  remaining  three  who  were  wounded 
surrendered.  Then  the  sergeant  boldly  advanced  against  the  second 
position  capturing  its  defenders.  Following  this,  the  2d  Platoon  pushed 
on  and  cleared  the  bunkers  that  comprised  the  company  objective.  In 
this  operation  they  were  supported  by  the  3d  Platoon.  Both  platoons 
next  made  their  way  to  the  top  of  the  ridge  against  only  sporadic 
resistance. 

302d  Infantry 

Shortly  after  midnight  on  the  19th,  the  1st  and  3d  Battalions,  302d, 
moved  from  Perl  and  Eft,  respectively,  to  their  assembly  areas  in  Camp- 
holz Woods.  As  the  assault  companies  advanced  into  the  woods  they 
picked  up  flame  throwers,  pole  and  satchel  charges,  bangalore  tor- 
pedoes and  other  demolitions  from  stock  piles  set  up  by  the  Ammuni- 
tion and  Pioneer  Platoons.  The  night  was  extremely  dark  and  thaws 
had  turned  the  area  into  a  quagmire. 

Initial  objective  for  the  regiment  was  the  pillbox  area  on  the  south- 
ern nose  of  Munzingen  Ridge,  east  and  northeast  of  Campholz  Woods. 
Hence,  the  direction  of  attack  was  eastward.  The  3d  Battalion,  which 
was  assigned  the  left  or  northern  flank  of  the  attack,  moved  into  the 
northeastern  portion  of  the  woods;  1st  Battalion,  responsible  for  the 
right  of  the  regimental  zone,  took  positions  just  south  of  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Cloudt's  men.  As  these  two  battalions  assumed  position,  the 
2d  Battalion,  302d,  which  had  been  holding  the  woods,  moved  back 


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248 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


to  Eft  where  it  became  Division  reserve.  Holding  the  right  flank  of 
the  Division,  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion  had  requested  that  it  be  included 
in  this  attack  and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Sullivan's  troops  were  assigned 
the  mission  of  taking  Oberleuken. 

At  0400  hours,  the  assault  companies  of  the  1st  and  3d  Battalions 
lay  huddled  on  their  line  of  departure  at  the  eastern  edge  of  the  woods. 
Their  artillery  preparation  on  the  pillbox  area  landed  on  schedule  and 
was  fierce  in  its  intensity.  Under  this  cover,  the  infantry  moved  for- 
ward. 

As  Company  I  left  the  woods,  the  entire  scene  was  suddenly  lit  by 
dozens  of  German  flares.  Enemy  small  arms  and  automatic  weapons 
raked  the  area  and  the  position  was  deluged  with  mortar  fire.  The 
intensity  of  this  fire  forced  the  assault  platoons  to  seek  what  little 
cover  was  available  east  of  the  woods.  To  prevent  any  surprise  or 
flanking  movement,  the  enemy  continued  to  send  up  flares  until  day- 
light. To  make  the  situation  worse,  the  2d  Platoon  encountered  an 
enemy  minefield  and  here  casualties  were  inflicted.  Several  attempts 
were  made  by  rescue  parties  to  remove  the  wounded,  but  enemy  fire 
drove  them  back.  Despite  this  heavy  fire,  just  before  dawn,  Technical 
Sergeant  James  E.  Hudson  managed  to  work  his  assault  group  through 
the  mined  area.  They  stormed  and  took  the  first  bunker  to  fall  to 
Company  Fs  attack. 

With  the  coming  of  daylight,  Company  B,  778th  Tank  Battalion, 
moved  out  of  Tettingen  along  the  road  that  led  to  the  northern  edge 
of  Campholz  Woods.  This  route  had  been  cleared  during  the  night 
by  the  319th  Engineers  and  the  tanks  moved  to  the  flank  of  the  pillbox 
area  without  incident.  There  the  tankers  were  briefed  as  to  the  most 
troublesome  pillboxes  and  the  armor  moved  into  the  fray.  They  de- 
ployed and  by  the  direct  fire  of  their  75s  soon  buttoned  up  individual 
boxes.  This  lifted  a  good  deal  of  the  automatic-weapons  fire,  in  addi- 
tion to  denying  the  observation  of  the  Germans  directing  the  mortar 
fire  falling  on  the  area. 

As  the  tanks  supporting  Company  I  arrived,  Sergeant  Hudson's 
assault  group  pushed  to  the  next  bunker  assisted  by  the  fire  of  the 
armor.  Under  this  cover,  demolition  charges  were  detonated  on  the 
apertures  of  the  second  pillbox.  Lieutenant  Edwards,  who  had  assumed 
command  of  the  company  shortly  before  the  attack  began,  left  Private 
First  Class  Ernest  L.  Buffalini  and  five  men  to  flush  out  the  Germans 
manning  the  position  while  the  rest  of  the  company  continued  forward. 

One  of  the  most  important  of  the  pillboxes  in  Company  Fs  zone 
was  153.  From  this  box,  enemy  artillery  observers  had  been  directing 


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fire  against  the  94th  ever  since  its  arrival  in  the  Triangle.  The  position 
was  also  a  command  post  from  which  the  activities  of  the  German 
troops  in  the  vicinity  were  directed  and  controlled  by  an  underground 
telephone  communication  system.  Within  the  box,  a  German  artillery 
observer,  Lieutenant  Beikert,  was  making  frantic  efforts  to  get  his  bat- 
teries to  bring  additional  fire  on  Company  I  as  it  advanced. 

Meanwhile,  Lieutenant  Edwards  and  Technical  Sergeant  Edward 
Cardell,  taking  advantage  of  the  fire  support  of  the  tanks,  advanced 
their  assault  groups  for  the  reduction  of  this  important  pillbox.  Private 
First  Class  Alvin  Cohen  and  Private  First  Class  Joseph  J.  Truss  worked 
their  way  to  the  entrance  of  153  and  there  Truss  rigged  a  demolition 
charge  which  blew  the  door.  Private  First  Class  Cohen  emptied  his 
BAR  into  the  doorway  while  Sergeant  Cardell  and  Private  First  Class 
Truss  heaved  fragmentation  and  white  phosphorus  grenades  into  the 
pillbox.  This  persuaded  the  Germans  manning  the  position  to  sur- 
render. Several  prisoners  had  already  emerged  when  German  artillery 
fire,  previously  requested,  descended.  Both  Germans  and  Americans 
took  cover  in  153  until  the  concentration  was  completed. 

After  Company  I  had  reduced  all  the  pillboxes  and  bunkers  in  its 
zone,  a  machine  gun  was  emplaced  to  cover  the  left  flank  of  the  com- 
pany. In  the  ditch  to  the  north  of  this  position,  a  German  machine  gun 
was  located.  For  several  hours  the  Company  I  gunner  kept  the  enemy 
weapon  neutralized.  Later  in  the  day  the  advance  of  the  301st  on  the 
north  overran  this  ditch;  thirty-eight  prisoners  were  taken  from  it. 

Company  K,  which  had  debouched  from  the  woods  on  the  right  of 
Lieutenant  Edward's  company,  was  also  delayed  by  the  intensity  of  the 
enemy's  mortar,  artillery  and  automatic-weapons  fire.  Moreover,  anti- 
personnel mines  were  encountered  and  little  progress  was  made  until 
the  arrival  of  the  tanks  shortly  after  dawn.  The  tankers  mistook  some 
of  Company  K's  personnel  for  Germans  until  Private  First  Class  Ernest 
E.  Climes  stood  up  in  full  view  of  the  enemy  to  identify  himself  and 
his  companions.  Then,  under  the  covering  fire  of  the  tanks,  the  assault 
groups  pushed  forward  reducing  box  after  box.  Teams  under  Sergeant 
Roy  G.  Watson  and  Sergeant  Clarence  Raffesberger  took  the  last  two 
boxes  on  the  initial  objective  and  the  company  advanced  to  the  Borg- 
Munzingen  road. 

To  the  south  of  the  3d  Battalion,  Major  Stanion's  1st  Battalion 
initially  encountered  similar  difficulties.  Before  the  tanks  arrived  the 
advance  was  slowed  by  the  accuracy  and  intensity  of  the  enemy's  fire. 
However,  with  the  coming  of  the  armor,  infantry-tank  cooperation 
permitted  the  advance  to  continue  and  by  0900  hours,  Companies  A 


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and  B  had  reached  their  initial  objectives  along  the  Borg-Munzingen 
road. 

In  the  wake  of  Company  A's  attack,  Private  First  Class  James  Line- 
rich  and  Private  First  Class  Tyrone  Tywoneck  stopped  to  investigate 
one  of  the  pillboxes.  To  their  astonishment  they  discovered  the  posi- 
tion was  still  manned  and  proceeded  to  reduce  it.  Their  efforts  netted 
eleven  prisoners.  Much  the  same  thing  happened  to  Sergeant  James  A. 
Graham  of  Company  B.  The  bunker  he  tackled  yielded  five  PWs. 
Shortly  after  the  start  of  the  attack  Captain  Jack  P.  Haggart  of  Com- 
pany A  was  wounded  and  Lieutenant  Norquist  assumed  command. 

As  the  302d  Infantry  closed  up  to  the  Borg-Munzingen  road,  the 
key  defenses  of  the  Siegfried  Switch  position  passed  from  German  to 
American  hands.  With  Colonel  Hagerty's  men  holding  the  northern 
portion  of  Munzingen  Ridge  and  Colonel  Johnson's  men  commanding 
its  southern  tip,  the  backbone  of  the  enemy  defense  was  cracked.  The 
94th  was  through  the  vaunted  Siegfried  Switch. 

376th  Infantry 

On  the  night  of  the  18th,  the  company  commander  of  one  of  the 
German  antitank  companies  opposing  the  Division  became  lost  and 
drove  down  the  Kreuzweiler-Sinz  road.  Outside  the  latter  town  his 
vehicle  struck  an  American  mine  and  caught  fire.  This  proved  con- 
clusively that  the  enemy  had  not  mined  their  portion  of  the  road  and 
it  could  be  used  for  the  commitment  of  American  armor  should  the 
1st  Battalion,  376th,  need  such  assistance  in  the  attack  on  Bannholz. 
This  battalion,  less  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  C  which  was  to  remain 
in  Sinz  to  hold  the  town,  moved  to  the  line  of  departure  at  0350  hours. 
Ten  minutes  later  the  artillery  preparation  on  Bannholz  Woods  began. 
As  the  fire  lifted  from  the  edge  of  the  woods  and  worked  north,  the 
infantry  moved  forward  with  Company  A  on  the  left  of  the  battalion 
zone  and  Company  B  the  right. 

Because  of  known  minefields  Company  A  advanced  on  a  relatively 
narrow  front.  In  the  inky  darkness,  the  troops  pushed  through  the 
heavy  underbrush  and  swept  forward  to  their  objective.  As  they  began 
organizing  a  perimeter  defense,  20mm  fire  from  the  direction  of  Geis- 
busch  Woods  raked  the  area  and  artillery  fire  came  in  from  the  direc- 
tion of  Kreuzweiler.  At  dawn,  groups  of  enemy  within  mnnholz  who 
had  been  bypassed  during  the  advance  began  to  surrender. 

On  the  right  Company  B,  commanded  by  Captain  Bowden,  pushed 
into  Bannholz.  Resistance  was  light  and  the  company  speedily  reached 


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its  objective.  After  daylight,  patrols  were  sent  through  the  woods  to 
conduct  a  thorough  search.  One  patrol  moving  along  the  east  edge 
of  Bannholz  discovered  a  knocked  out  tank;  inside  were  two  enemy 
artillery  observers  using  the  vehicle  for  an  OP.  Once  these  artillery- 
men had  been  taken  prisoner,  the  volume  of  fire  on  the  woods  decreased 
materially. 

At  0430  hours,  Company  C  under  Lieutenant  Cornelius  crossed  its 
line  of  departure.  Using  marching  fire,  the  company  advanced  to  the 
northern  edge  of  the  woods  where  it  was  hit  by  an  intense  mortar 
concentration.  Private  First  Class  Thomas  H.  Goggins  located  several 
of  the  German  20mm  positions  in  Geisbusch  and  the  fire  of  the  TDs 
supporting  the  company  was  employed  against  these  weapons.  By 
0815  hours,  Bannholz  Woods  was  completely  secured. 

With  the  start  of  the  attack  on  the  morning  of  the  19th,  the  3d 
Battalion,  376th,  was  situated  midway  between  Sinz  and  Nennig,  about 
two  hundred  yards  north  of  the  Sinz-Bubingen  road.  To  the  left,  the 
94th  Reconnaissance  Troop  extended  west  to  the  Moselle.  At  0400 
hours,  as  the  919th  threw  a  fifteen-minute  concentration  on  Adenholz 
and  Geisbusch  Woods,  this  battalion  lunged  forward  with  the  rest  of 
the  Division.  Company  K  advanced  on  the  left  against  Adenholz  and 
Company  L  on  the  right  against  Geisbusch.  About  400  yards  from 
the  LD  in  the  zone  of  the  former  unit  was  a  known  enemy  minefield, 
through  which  a  narrow  path  had  been  cleared.  As  the  company  was 
traversing  this  lane,  the  enemy  unleashed  a  terrific  artillery  concentra- 
tion. Instinctively  the  men  scattered,  detonating  mines  and  causing 
extremely  heavy  casualties.  When  the  fire  lifted,  Lieutenant  Daly,  who 
was  commanding  the  company,  removed  the  wounded  and  withdrew 
the  company  to  reorganize.  Lieutenant  Daly  had  been  wounded  him- 
self, but  continued  to  lead  his  troops  until  late  in  the  afternoon. 

To  avoid  this  minefield,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  decided  to 
attach  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  I  to  Company  K  and  renew  the 
advance  through  the  zone  of  the  right  assault  company.  This  was  done 
and  Lieutenant  Daly's  men  struck  at  Adenholz  Woods  from  the  south. 
Supported  by  tanks,  the  company  advanced  as  skirmishers.  With  little 
difficulty  it  cleared  the  western  half  of  the  woods.  Following  this, 
Lieutenant  Daly  turned  his  supporting  tanks  over  to  Lieutenant  Cecil 
G.  Dansby's  platoon  of  Company  I  which  was  to  clear  that  portion  of 
Adenholz  to  the  north  of  the  Sinz-Kreuzweiler  road.  Tanks  and  infan- 
try moved  into  the  woods  firing  as  they  advanced.  Opposition  was  light 


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and  in  short  order  the  remaining  portion  of  Adenholz  Woods  was 
reduced.  This  operation  netted  the  platoon  eighty  prisoners. 

On  the  right,  Company  L  under  Captain  Brightman  received  a  por- 
tion of  the  same  fire  that  had  scattered  Lieutenant  Daly's  men  in  the 
minefield.  As  this  fire  lifted,  the  company  moved  forward  rapidly, 
having  no  enemy  mines  to  slow  its  advance.  The  men  crossed  the  one 
thousand  yards  of  open  ground  between  Untersie  Busch  and  Geisbusch 
on  the  double,  firing  into  the  woods  as  they  advanced.  Geisbusch  was 
soon  reduced  and  the  3d  Battalion  was  on  all  its  objectives.  Speedily, 
the  new  positions  were  consolidated  and  the  flank  company  contacted 
the  1st  Battalion  on  the  right. 

With  the  exception  of  Oberleuken  the  Division  then  held  all  the 
assigned  initial  objectives  specified  in  Field  Order  No.  11.  The  5th 
Rangers,  who  were  to  have  taken  the  town,  had  encountered  extensive 
electrically  controlled  minefields  and  suffered  heavily.  Several  attempts 
to  force  a  passage  proved  unsuccessful  and  the  venture  was  finally 
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Chapter  28:  FEBRUARY  19:  SECOND  OBJECTIVES 


T  1000  HOURS  on  the  morning  of  the  19th,  the  Division  Com- 


mander informed  all  units  that  the  attack  would  be  continued 


X  j\.  at  1230  hours  to  seize  the  final  objectives  specified  in  Field 
Order  No.  11.  A  fifteen-minute  artillery  preparation,  from  1215  to 
1230  hours  was  arranged  and  this  set  the  stage  for  a  continuation  of 
the  advance.  The  days  and  weeks  in  which  the  Division  had  slowly 
worn  down  the  enemy  facing  it  from  behind  the  mines,  dragon's  teeth 
and  pillboxes  were  about  to  pay  dividends. 

At  Division  headquarters,  General  Malony  was  certain  that  the  time 
had  come  for  corps  to  capitalize  on  the  breach  the  94th  had  made  in 
the  Siegfried  Switch  Line.  Consequently,  the  CG  called  XX  Corps 
and  in  conversation  with  General  Walker  urged  that  an  armored  force 
be  committed.  (The  10th  Armored  Division  was  then  in  reserve  in  the 
vicinity  of  Metz.)  The  94th  had  penetrated  the  enemy  line,  but  armor 
would  be  needed  to  knife  through  the  battered  and  disorganized  re- 
mains of  the  mauled  German  divisions  within  the  Triangle  to  prevent 
their  crossing  the  Saar,  reorganizing  and  manning  the  fortifications  of 
the  main  Siegfried  Line,  which  paralleled  the  east  bank  of  the  river, 
for  should  the  enemy  succeed  in  crossing  the  river  in  force  the  bloody 
fighting  of  the  previous  month  would  have  to  be  repeated  beyond  the 
Saar.  At  1223  hours  on  the  19th,  while  the  might  of  the  Division  artil- 
lery was  falling  on  Kreuzweiler,  Thorn,  Munzingen,  Faha,  Keblingen 
and  Oberleuken  in  preparation  for  the  continuation  of  the  advance. 
General  Walker  called  the  94th  CP  and  informed  Colonel  Bergquist 
that  the  10th  Armored  Division  "ought  to  be  on  the  way  in  two  hours/' 


The  1st  Battalion,  301st,  had  suffered  heavily  in  taking  its  initial 
objectives.  As  a  result,  when  Colonel  Hagerty  received  word  for  the 
continuation  of  the  attack  he  ordered  the  2d  Battalion  to  pass  through 
the  1st  and  continue  the  assault  to  Faha.  At  1035  hours,  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Dohs  moved  his  command  out  of  Wochern,  through  Tet- 
tingen  and  on  to  Munzingen  Ridge. 

On  the  left  of  the  regimental  zone,  the  3d  Battalion  prepared  to 
move  against  Munzingen  and  the  hill  to  the  northeast  which  com- 
manded the  Borg-Munzingen  highway.  Once  the  series  of  hills  to  the 
east  of  this  road  were  taken  by  the  301st  and  302d  Infantry,  the  Divi- 
sion would  have  a  protected  axis  of  advance  deep  into  the  Triangle, 
over  which  the  10th  Armored  could  drive  against  the  crumbling  Ger- 
man resistance. 

As  the  artillery  preparation  lifted  in  front  of  the  3d  Battalion,  four 


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American  tanks  and  three  TDs  raced  from  the  cover  of  Das  Lee 
Woods.  They  drove  down  the  ridge  and  swung  to  the  east.  The 
tracked  vehicles  crossed  the  Borg-Kirf  highway,  north  of  Munzingen, 
and  climbed  the  slopes  of  the  hill  to  the  northeast  that  was  the 
battalion's  next  objective. 

Company  L  moved  out  behind  the  tanks  and  endeavored  to  keep  up 
with  their  rate  of  advance.  This  proved  impossible,  but  the  infantry 
did  eliminate  several  groups  of  enemy  attempting  to  employ  Panzer- 
fausts  against  the  American  armor.  At  the  same  time,  Company  K 
moved  down  the  ridge  and  swung  to  the  south,  bypassing  the  town  of 
Munzingen.  Circling  north,  it  pushed  forward  to  join  the  armor.  In 
less  than  an  hour,  the  hill  northeast  of  Munzingen  was  completely 
cleared. 

This  lightning  advance  swept  around  Munzingen  but  did  nothing 
toward  reducing  the  town.  Company  I  came  forward  after  the  artillery 
preparation  had  lifted  and  forced  its  way  into  the  southeast  corner  of 
Munzingen.  A  furious  battle  followed  in  which  the  defenders  of  the 
town  were  reinforced  by  the  tanks  inside  Munzingen.  Relentlessly, 
Captain  Donovan's  company  pressed  forward  from  house  to  house; 
gradually  the  Germans  were  forced  into  one  small  area  of  town.  From 
the  south,  Company  I  continued  its  assault  while  the  remainder  of 
the  3d  Battalion,  on  the  hill  to  the  northeast,  prevented  the  enemy  from 
withdrawing  toward  Kirf  to  the  north.  On  the  hill,  the  tanks  and  TDs 
had  been  withdrawn  to  the  reverse  slope  and  turned  their  turrets 
toward  Munzingen,  once  the  infantry  had  consolidated  the  position. 
Before  the  town  was  completely  cleared,  a  German  tank  attempted  to 
shoot  its  way  out.  One  of  the  TDs  fired  at  the  panzer  and  the  tank 
replied  in  kind.  The  German  shell  passed  through  a  bedding  roll 
lashed  to  the  hull  of  the  tank  destroyer,  setting  it  afire.  Another  TD 
then  opened  up  and  knocked  out  the  enemy  vehicle.  When  the  bedding 
roll  was  extinguished  events  settled  back  to  normal.  By  1620  hours 
all  resistance  in  Munzingen  had  ended  and  the  3d  battalion  was  in 
possession  of  its  second  objective. 

After  Companies  K  and  L  had  secured  the  hill  northeast  of  Munz- 
ingen, Germans  could  be  heard  in  the  woods  to  the  east;  Technical 
Sergeant  Elmer  H.  Kinateder  took  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  L  for- 
ward to  investigate.  This  platoon  returned  shortly  with  thirty  prisoners 
who  had  been  forming  to  launch  a  counterattack  against  the  hill. 

Prior  to  this  second  attack,  the  2d  Battalion,  301st,  moved  to  posi- 
tions in  rear  of  the  1st.  There,  on  the  reverse  slope  of  the  ridge,  Corn- 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


panies  E  and  F,  the  assault  units,  formed  their  skirmish  lines.  Promptly 
at  1230  hours,  the  two  companies  swept  over  the  ridge  and  through  the 
1st  Battalion.  Approximately  2,500  yards  of  open  ground  separated 
the  troops  from  their  objective  and  as  they  pushed  forward  German 
artillery  fire  began  to  fall  among  them.  Unhesitatingly,  the  seasoned 
troops  continued  their  advance.  The  assault  waves  swept  into  Faha  and 
the  fight  for  the  town  began.  By  1430  hours  half  of  the  town  had  been 
cleared  and  its  complete  occupation  was  assured.  Consequently,  Com- 
pany G  was  sent  to  seize  the  hill  to  the  northeast  that  overlooks  Faha. 
For  the  remainder  of  the  afternoon  the  battalion  made  slow  but  steady 
progress.  At  1830  hours  the  town  was  won  completely  and  Company 
G  had  tied  in  with  the  3d  Battalion  to  the  north.  This  put  all  of  the 
301st  objectives  in  American  hands. 

302d  Infantry 

To  the  right  of  the  301st,  Colonel  Johnson's  men  were  also  ready  to 
continue  the  attack.  With  the  failure  of  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion  to 
take  Oberleuken,  plans  within  the  regiment  were  altered  slightly.  The 
1st  Battalion,  which  had  originally  been  scheduled  to  attack  Keblingen, 
was  assigned  the  mission  of  taking  Oberleuken  and  the  attack  on  Keb- 
lingen then  was  given  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt's  3d  Battalion. 

Before  the  1st  Battalion  could  get  to  Oberleuken,  Hill  388  west  of 
the  town  had  to  be  taken.  Keblingen  was  also  protected  by  high  ground 
in  the  path  of  the  3d  Battalion's  advance.  These  promontories  had 
been  used  extensively  by  the  Germans  as  OPs,  since  they  gave  excellent 
observation  of  the  terrain  beyond  the  Switch  position.  Both  were  well 
fortified. 

As  the  artillery  preparation  lifted,  Companies  A  and  B  with  their 
supporting  tanks  moved  across  the  Borg-Munzingen  road  and  advanced 
against  Hill  388.  The  attack  moved  forward  rapidly,  as  the  troops 
advanced  up  the  western  slope,  reducing  pillboxes  and  bunkers  in  quick 
succession.  Enemy  artillery  and  mortar  fire  fell  on  the  hill,  but  the 
assault  platoons  suffered  only  slight  casualties  as  most  of  the  fire  was 
to  their  rear  among  the  support  and  weapons  platoons.  As  the  crest 
was  reached,  fire  from  the  pillboxes  around  Oberleuken  raked  the  area; 
enemy  mortar  and  artillery  fire  increased.  Since  Hill  388  was  a  bald 
slope,  devoid  of  cover,  it  was  decided  to  withdraw  most  of  the  troops 
to  the  communication  trenches  on  the  west  slope  to  gain  some  protec- 
tion from  the  enemy  fire.  A  few  men  were  left  on  the  crest  to  give 
the  alert  in  the  event  a  German  counterattack  developed. 

Meanwhile,  Company  C,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Robinson,  had 


tized  by  GOOgk 


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moved  out  of  Borg  to  take  Keblingen.  As  the  company  arrived  at 
Hill  388,  the  CO  was  informed  that  the  objective  had  been  changed 
and  his  unit  was  to  assault  Oberleuken  immediately.  After  a  hasty 
glance  at  the  town,  the  company  commander  issued  a  new  set  of  orders 
to  his  platoon  leaders. 

The  platoon  of  tanks  that  was  to  support  Lieutenant  Robinson's 
company  was  already  in  position  on  the  forward  or  east  slope  of  the 
hill,  prepared  to  move  against  Keblingen.  Through  heavy  enemy  fire 
Private  First  Class  Bernard  Piotrzkowski,  a  company  runner,  made  his 
way  over  the  crest  to  the  tanks.  Upon  reaching  the  nearest  vehicle, 
he  banged  against  its  hull  with  his  rifle  butt  and  when  the  tank  com- 
mander unbuttoned,  informed  him  of  the  change  in  plans.  This  infor- 
mation then  was  radioed  to  the  other  tanks.  The  armor  changed 
direction  and  began  to  pound  Oberleuken.  In  short  order  they  located 
the  major  pillboxes  defending  the  town,  buttoning  them  up  with  the 
fire  of  their  75s. 

Company  C  moved  over  the  ridge  and  advanced  on  Oberleuken  as 
the  fire  of  the  302d's  Cannon  Company  and  the  301st  Field  Artillery 
hit  the  town.  Private  First  Class  Edward  C.  Burnshaw,  a  member  of 
one  of  the  forward  observation  teams  of  the  former  unit,  was  seriously 
wounded  by  an  exploding  mine.  Although  suffering  intense  pain  and 
weakened  by  additional  wounds,  he  maintained  constant  contact  with 
his  company  by  radio  adjusting  accurate  fire  on  the  enemy  positions. 
At  the  same  time,  the  artillerymen  literally  walked  their  fire  up  and 
down  the  streets.  As  it  lifted,  the  infantry  entered  town.  Staff  Sergeant 
Frederick  R.  Darby,  firing  a  light  machine  gun  from  the  hip,  led  the 
rush  to  the  first  group  of  houses.  Once  a  foothold  had  been  gained 
in  the  town,  two  of  the  supporting  tanks  came  roaring  into  Oberleuken. 
They  charged  up  the  main  street  with  their  guns  blazing  while  the 
other  two  supporting  tanks  remained  on  the  outskirts  of  town  covering 
the  advance.  Rapidly  the  infantry  moved  forward  seizing  house  after 
house.  Occasionally  snipers  delayed  the  advance,  but  the  tanks  soon 
eliminated  such  resistance.  By  1630  hours  the  town  was  cleared  com- 
pletely. One  hundred  and  ten  prisoners  were  taken  along  with  seven 
120mm  mortars. 

The  attack  of  the  3d  Battalion  was  much  the  same  story.  Companies 
I  and  K  stormed  forward  some  two  thousand  yards  to  the  hill  north- 
west of  Keblingen.  Resistance  encountered  was  for  the  most  part  light, 
but  mortar  and  artillery  fire  caused  some  damage.  The  hill  was  quickly 


secured. 


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259 


From  Oberhardt  Woods  to  the  north  of  the  hill,  enemy  fire  was 
directed  against  the  tanks  supporting  the  attack  of  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Cloudt's  battalion.  This  fire  was  returned  by  the  tankers,  and  four 
BARmen  from  Company  I — Private  First  Class  Alvin  Cohen,  Private 
First  Class  James  Bender,  Private  First  Class  Kyle  Thompson  and 
Private  Edward  Mayfield — were  sent  to  investigate.  Circling  the  woods, 
they  entered  it  from  the  north.  The  patrol  swept  through  Oberhardt 
and  as  they  reached  its  southern  edge,  they  encountered  two  German 
women  who  had  been  manning  an  antitank  gun. 

Following  the  capture  of  the  hill,  Company  L,  which  had  been  in 
reserve,  was  brought  forward  and  assigned  the  task  of  completing  the 
battalion  mission  by  capturing  Keblingen.  Lieutenant  Travis,  com- 
manding the  company,  hurriedly  laid  plans  for  this  attack.  An  artillery 
preparation  was  placed  on  the  town  and  the  2d  Platoon,  led  by  Lieu- 
tenant Charles  C.  Misner,  moved  down  the  hill  directly  supported  by 
the  fire  of  the  attached  tanks.  Against  heavy  resistance,  the  platoon 
entered  Keblingen.  In  short  order  a  furious  battle  was  in  progress. 
Technical  Sergeant  Francis  E.  Kelly,  the  platoon  sergeant,  received  a 
nasty  neck  wound  when  an  enemy  mine  was  detonated  in  his  vicinity 
but  refused  to  be  evacuated.  Meanwhile,  Lieutenant  Misner  had  re- 
turned to  the  hill  alone,  and  guided  the  tankers  into  town.  He  then 
rejoined  his  platoon,  inspiring  them  by  his  leadership,  while  Sergeant 
Kelly,  despite  his  injury,  directed  the  fire  of  the  tanks  at  the  more 
stubborn  points  of  enemy  resistance.  Fighting  raged  for  several  hours; 
it  was  1730  hours  before  the  objective  was  taken.  Then,  both  platoon 
leader  and  platoon  sergeant,  ignoring  the  volume  of  German  mortar 
and  artillery  fire  falling  on  Keblingen,  organized  litter  squads  and 
supervised  the  evacuation  of  the  numerous  wounded. 

The  319th  Engineers  were  also  having  a  big  day.  Demolition  parties 
with  the  infantry  blew  captured  pillboxes  as  soon  as  they  could  be 
loaded  and  fuzed.  Roads  in  the  area  were  swept  clear  of  mines,  and 
treadway  bridges  were  placed  across  the  antitank  ditches  on  the  Borg- 
Munzingen  and  Borg-Oberleuken  roads. 

With  the  coming  of  darkness,  Company  B  of  the  302d  moved  from 
Hill  388  into  the  woods  between  Keblingen  and  Oberleuken,  linking 
the  newly  won  positions  of  the  1st  and  3d  Battalions.  Technician  Fifth 
Grade  Robert  Hoots  and  Private  First  Class  William  B.  McElwee  of 
the  above  company  were  sent  to  the  junction  of  the  road  running  south 
from  Keblingen  and  the  Oberleuken-Orsholz  road  to  set  up  their 


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261 


machine  gun  and  form  a  roadblock.  As  they  approached  this  position, 
they  found  an  enemy  machine-gun  crew  already  emplaced  at  the  site. 
With  little  adcs  they  captured  the  Germans  and  took  over  the  position. 
On  the  following  morning  three  more  Germans,  the  relief  for  this 
outpost,  appeared.  They  also  were  taken  into  custody. 

During  the  night,  both  the  301st  and  302d  Infantry  Regiments  pre- 
pared and  improved  their  hasty  defensive  positions  while  awaiting  the 
coming  of  daylight  and  new  orders. 

376th  Infantry 

Far  to  the  north,  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  had  not  been  idle.  At 
1100  hours,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  was  called  back  to  Sinz  and  given 
final  instructions  for  the  seizure  of  Der  Langen  Woods  and  Hill  398 
just  north  of  the  woods.  The  six  TDs  of  Company  A,  708th  Tank 
Destroyer  Battalion,  assisting  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's  men,  took 
positions  on  the  northeastern  edge  of  Bannholz  Woods  to  deliver  over- 
head fire.  All  the  HMGs  of  Company  D  were  also  emplaced  within 
the  woods  to  support  this  attack.  Company  E  was  ordered  into  Bann- 
holz to  take  over  the  1st  Battalion's  zone,  while  the  3d  Platoon  of 
Company  C,  located  in  Sinz,  was  returned  to  company  control.  These 
preparations  took  longer  than  anticipated  and  it  was  1300  hours  before 
the  1st  Battalion  moved  to  the  attack. 

As  the  fire  of  the  artillery,  the  TDs  and  the  machine  guns  burst 
along  Munzingen  Ridge  the  assault  companies  moved  forward.  Com- 
pany A  took  the  right  of  the  battalion  zone;  Company  B  the  left.  They 
advanced  in  squad  columns  under  supporting  fire  which  did  not  lift 
until  the  assault  units  were  within  two  hundred  yards  of  their  objectives. 
As  this  overhead  fire  ceased,  the  squad  columns  broke  and  formed 
skirmish  lines.  In  a  blaze  of  marching  fire,  the  troops  pushed  to  the 
crest  of  the  ridge.  During  this  advance,  enemy  observation  from  the 
north  was  effectively  screened  by  the  81st  Chemical  Mortar  Battalion 
which  dropped  a  curtain  of  white  phosphorus  shells  from  Munzingen 
Ridge  to  Moscholz  Woods. 

As  Company  B  approached  Der  Langen  Woods,  it  was  hit  by  a 
terrific  concentration.  Mortar,  artillery  and  20mm  projectiles  rained 
on  the  company.  For  almost  an  hour  this  fire  completely  halted  the 
advance  of  the  1st  Platoon.  However,  the  remainder  of  the  company 
broke  loose  and  entered  the  woods.  Staff  Sergeant  Charles  H.  Nichols 
and  Staff  Sergeant  Robert  F.  Burnett  led  their  squads  through  a  series 
of  communication  trenches  that  circled  the  woods,  eliminating  the 
Germans  defending  these  positions. 


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262 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


After  the  infantry  reached  their  objective,  the  TDs  moved  forward 
to  join  them;  in  quick  succession  three  of  tj^e  tank  destroyers  were 
knocked  out  by  an  88  in  Moscholz  Woods.  *The  remaining  vehicles 
then  took  shelter  behind  a  small  knoll  and  from  there  made  their 
way  toward  Der  Langen  by  a  more  deflated  route.  As  the  leading 
TD  approached  the  woods,  another  88  concealed  in  the  southeast 
corner  of  Der  Langen  opened  fire  knocking  out  the  tank  destroyer. 
With  this,  the  infantry  moved  against  the  German  antitank  gun  which 
they  captured  shortly.  The  two  remaining  TDs  reached  their  objective 
safely.  Staff  Sergeant  Brewster  of  the  919th  Field  Artillery,  acting  as 
a  forward  observer,  called  for  fire  on  the  20mm  guns  which  were 
engaging  the  1st  Platoon  from  Moscholz  Woods.  After  several  con- 
centrations he  silenced  these  weapons. 

To  the  south  of  Der  Langen  Woods,  Company  A  discovered  a  net- 
work of  trenches  and  firing  pits.  In  mopping  up  the  area  Private  First 
Class  Richard  J.  Kamins  found  a  German  sitting  in  a  hole  crying. 
Without  talking  the  prisoner  pointed  to  a  nearby  position  from  which 
Private  First  Class  Kamins  flushed  fifteen  more  Germans.  By  1400 
hours,  the  woods  and  hill  were  completely  cleared.  Company  C  then 
moved  forward  to  strengthen  the  defense  of  the  new  area  and  that 
evening  the  battalion  was  informed  that  it  would  revert  to  reserve  as 
soon  as  the  10th  Armored  Division  passed  through  its  position  the 
following  morning. 

As  a  result  of  the  day's  operations,  seven  square  miles  of  dominating 
terrain  had  been  overrun,  five  pillboxes  and  twenty-three  bunkers  re- 
duced, four  enemy  tanks  destroyed  and  872  prisoners  captured.  More- 
over, Munzingen  Ridge  was  in  the  hands  of  the  94th  from  Borg  to 
Der  Langen  Woods.  All  the  hills  east  of  the  Borg-Munzingen  road 
along  this  line  were  also  in  American  hands.  The  vital  axis,  deep  into 
the  Triangle,  over  which  an  armored  division  could  be  committed,  had 
been  completely  secured.  To  the  south,  the  vaunted  Siegfried  Switch 
Line  lay  shattered  forever.  The  94th  had  completed  the  bloody  busi- 
ness of  cracking  the  enemy's  defense  and  had  provided  corps  with  a 
vital  bridgehead. 

At  about  the  time  the  Division  was  moving  toward  the  final  objec- 
tives set  forth  in  Field  Order  No.  11  word  was  received  at  the  com- 
mand post  of  the  10th  Armored  Division  in  Metz  to  move  into  the 
Triangle  immediately.  Soon  mobile  loud  speakers  were  moving  through 
the  streets  of  Metz  informing  the  men  of  the  10th  Armored  to  report 
to  their  units  at  once.  Many  of  these  troops  arrived  at  their  bivouac 


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263 


areas  barely  in  time  to  catch  their  vehicles  as  they  pulled  out.  Others 
were  less  fortunate  and  had  to  hitch  rides  with  units  following  their 
own. 

All  through  the  night  of  the  19th-20th  the  vehicles  and  tanks  of  the 
10th  Armored  rolled  toward  the  rear  areas  of  the  94th.  As  the  columns 
reached  the  German  border,  they  began  to  split.  By  daylight  there 
were  tanks  parked  in  Borg,  Wochern,  Besch,  Perl,  Sierck  and  many 
of  the  surrounding  towns  and  villages.  The  attack  would  continue 
with  two  divisions  abreast,  the  94th  on  the  right. 


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Chapter  29:  REDUCTION  OF  THE  TRIANGLE 


FOR  THE  94th  DIVISION  the  night  of  February  19-20  proved 
another  busy  one.  The  10th  Armored  Division  had  been  assigned 
as  its  zone  within  the  Triangle  the  area  from  the  Moselle  River 
east  to  the  Borg-Munzingen  Ridge;  as  a  result,  most  of  the  installations 
of  the  94th  had  to  be  moved  eastward.  At  the  same  time,  plans  were 
laid  for  a  continuation  of  the  attack  in  the  right  half  of  the  Triangle. 

The  10th  Armored  Division  was  charged  with  the  mission  of  clear- 
ing the  main  portion  of  the  area  between  the  Moselle  and  Saar  Rivers 
and  of  attempting  to  capture  intact  the  river  bridges  in  its  zone.  To 
assist  the  armor  in  this  task,  the  complete  376th  Combat  Team  was 
attached.  The  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop  and  the  Division  Head- 
quarters Defense  Platoon  were  under  Colonel  McClune's  control  at 
this  time  and  these  attachments  were  temporarily  allowed  to  remain 
in  effect.  The  94th,  less  the  above  elements,  which  reduced  the  division 
to  something  less  than  two-thirds  strength,  was  to  clear  the  eastern 
portion  of  the  Triangle  between  Lenk  Branch  and  the  Saar  River,  from 
Orsholz  on  the  south  to  Saarburg  on  the  north.  This  area  was  hilly 
and  completely  unsuited  for  the  deployment  of  armor. 

To  further  prepare  the  way  for  the  armored  division,  the  376th  was 
charged  with  the  capture  of  the  towns  of  Kreuzweiler  and  Thorn, 
which  would  provide  the  armor  with  the  second  breach  in  the  German 
defenses.  Following  the  reduction  of  these  towns,  the  376th  was  to 
be  passed  through  by  the  tanks;  the  regiment  would  then  proceed  north 
on  a  wide  front,  mopping  up  in  the  wake  of  the  armor.  The  2d  Bat- 
talion was  designated  for  the  reduction  of  Kreuzweiler  and  the  recon- 
naissance troop  and  defense  platoon  were  to  take  Thorn. 

The  301st  Infantry  was  assigned  the  mission  of  taking  Kollesleuken, 
Freudenburg,  Kastel  and  Staadt.  In  addition,  the  regiment  was  to  main- 
tain contact  with  the  10th  Armored  Division  until  the  94th  Reconnais- 
sance Troop  was  released  to  take  over  the  zone  between  the  301st  and 
the  armor.  To  accomplish  these  tasks,  the  3d  Battalion  was  given  the 
left  of  the  regimental  zone  and  the  2d  Battalion  the  right. 

To  the  302d  Infantry  fell  the  task  of  cleaning  up  all  enemy  resistance 
south  of  the  301st's  zone.  To  assist  Colonel  Johnson's  men,  the  1st 
Battalion,  301st,  was  attached  to  the  regiment  and,  along  with  the  2d 
Battalion,  302d,  was  formed  into  a  task  force  under  the  command  of 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Gaddis.  Task  Force  Gaddis  was  to  seize  the  heavily 
fortified  town  of  Orsholz  which  earlier  had  dealt  so  severely  with  the 
1st  Battalion,  301st.  Old  scores  were  to  be  settled.  To  the  5th  Ranger 
Battalion  and  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  fell  the  task  of  reducing  the 


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266  THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 

woods  between  Oberleuken  and  Orsholz,  while  the  3d  Battalion  was 
to  seize  the  towns  of  Weiten,  Rodt,  Taben  and  Hamm. 

301st  Infantry 

At  0715  hours  on  the  20th  the  2d  Battalion,  301st,  began  its  march 
to  Freudenburg.  The  battalion  moved  forward  to  Lenk  Branch,  crossed 
the  stream  and  gained  a  firm  hold  on  the  east  bank.  Since  the  bridges 
over  the  stream  had  been  destroyed,  the  supporting  tanks  and  TDs 
were  prevented  from  crossing.  But,  as  the  advance  continued,  the 
engineers  set  about  constructing  a  bridge. 

From  the  stream,  the  assault  groups  began  the  steep  climb  toward 
their  objective,  advancing  rapidly  against  slight  resistance.  Outside  of 
Freudenburg,  a  battery  of  Russian  7.62cm  guns  was  encountered.  The 
enemy  was  thoroughly  surprised  but  put  up  enough  resistance  to  win 
time  to  destroy  his  field  pieces.  Soon  the  German  artillerymen  were 
overwhelmed  and  the  survivors  of  the  encounter  made  prisoners. 

Shortly  before  noon,  Company  F  fought  its  way  into  the  southwest 
corner  of  town.  Resistance  was  not  heavy,  but  the  houses  had  to  be 
searched  methodically  and  a  few  troublesome  snipers  eliminated.  As 
Company  E  joined  the  battle,  the  tempo  of  the  advance  quickened. 
However,  by  mid-afternoon  it  was  apparent  that  the  town  was  too 
large  to  be  cleared  rapidly  by  the  forces  already  committed.  As  a  result. 
Company  G  was  thrown  into  the  fray  from  the  northwest.  Before  dark 
Freudenburg  was  cleared  completely. 

The  3d  Battalion  did  not  attack  until  0800  hours  on  the  morning  of 
the  20th;  it  moved  out  in  a  column  of  companies  with  Company  L  in 
the  lead.  In  Das  Bruch  Woods  part  of  the  unit  lost  direction  and 
headed  southeast.  As  the  men  emerged  from  the  woods,  they  encoun- 
tered elements  of  the  2d  Battalion  and  were  informed  that  they  were 
out  of  their  sector.  Returning  through  the  woods  the  troops  met  some 
of  the  supporting  tanks  attached  to  the  battalion.  These  they  mounted 
and  moved  down  the  open  ridge  to  the  east.  When  they  reached  the 
crest  overlooking  Kollesleuken,  the  advance  stopped  abruptly.  Enemy 
fire  from  the  high  ground  to  the  east  began  to  land  about  them  and 
one  of  the  tank  commanders  thrust  his  head  from  the  turret  of  his 
vehicle  just  as  a  Panzerfaust  burst  alongside.  The  infantry  who  had 
been  riding  the  tanks  hit  the  ground,  taking  advantage  of  what  little 
cover  existed.  As  quickly  as  possible,  the  group  pulled  back  to  reor- 
ganize after  discovering  the  reason  for  the  volume  of  fire  directed 
against  them.  Enemy  forces  were  retreating  from  Kirf,  moving  along 
the  valley  road  to  Kollesleuken,  while  covered  by  fire  from  the  east. 


'  ^  Google 


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^  l^  UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


skivvy  >»^5%itf^^^s?«^fia 


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■  -y-\:  ■ 

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i  m 


The  sst  Platoon  of  Company  L  was  sent  to  outflank-  pars  of  this 
retreating  column.  As  it  moved  up  i  hedgerow  toward  the  woods,  an  ' 


'VJV^'gi^  .  UMVERSfTY  OF  MICHIGAN- 


268 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


were  advancing  against  Eider  Berg.  The  tracked  vehicles  swept  by  the 
infantry  swarming  up  the  hill  against  light  opposition.  Four  pillboxes 
on  the  southern  nose  of  the  promontory  which  had  watched  the 
methodical  reduction  of  Freudenburg  quickly  surrendered. 

The  following  morning  the  advance  continued  eastward.  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Dohs*  troops  pushed  through  the  woods  along  the  regimental 
right  boundary  in  column  of  companies.  No  resistance  was  encoun- 
tered and  by  1100  hours  Company  F,  in  the  lead,  was  overlooking  the 
Saar  River. 

Also  in  a  column  of  companies,  the  3d  Battalion  crossed  its  line  of 
departure  at  0830  hours  the  same  morning.  Company  K,  in  the  lead, 
met  some  resistance  in  Kastel,  but  by  1025  hours  had  secured  the  town. 
Company  L  then  passed  through  the  assault  unit  and  moved  out  on 
the  bluff  overlooking  the  Saar  River  and  the  town  of  Serrig  on  the  far 
bank. 

302d  Infantry 

From  Keblingen  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  jumped  off  at  0700  hours 
on  the  20th  headed  for  Weiten.  Company  I  was  on  the  left,  Company 
L  on  the  right  and  Company  K  in  reserve.  Halfway  to  their  objective 
the  assault  companies  were  slowed  down  by  enemy  machine-gun  fire 
from  the  hill  to  their  front.  Private  First  Class  Peter  Maculawicz  and 
two  other  men  flanked  the  hill  to  the  right  and,  carefully  working 
their  way  forward,  rushed  the  nearest  gun.  They  quickly  overpowered 
the  crew  taking  them  prisoner.  Then  the  remaining  machine  gun  drew 
the  concentrated  fire  of  both  companies  and  was  neutralized. 

As  the  battalion  continued  across  the  hill  and  down  into  the  valley, 
the  bridge  over  the  stream  below  them  was  observed  to  be  intact.  At 
about  this  time,  a  lone  German  raced  from  the  woods  toward  the 
stream.  This  man  was  pinned  down  by  rifle  fire  while  the  leading 
elements  of  Company  K  made  a  rush  for  the  bridge.  It  was  taken 
intact  and  upon  examination  was  found  to  be  prepared  for  demolition. 
The  wires  were  cut,  following  which  the  company  crossed  with  dry 
feet.  Company  I  on  the  left  was  not  as  fortunate.  There  was  no  bridge 
in  their  zone  of  advance  so  the  troops  waded  the  stream. 

In  the  woods  west  of  Weiten,  the  battalion  halted  to  await  the  arri- 
val of  its  tanks.  Battery  A  of  the  465th  AAA  Battalion  moved  its  quad- 
ruple-mounted .50-caliber  machine  guns  into  position  and  raked  the 
town  with  fire.  Then  the  tanks  arrived  and  started  down  the  road  into 
Weiten.  As  they  moved  into  the  open,  they  were  engaged  by  German 
antitank  fire  which  forced  them  back  into  the  woods.  Lieutenant  Car- 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


On  the  morning  of  the  21st,  Companies  K  and  L  pressed  farther 
east.  By  this  time  the  bulk  of  the  routed  German  forces  had  been 
captured  or  had  surrendered,  though  some  elements  made  good  their 
escape  across  the  Saar.  The  companies  pushed  forward  rapidly  and 
by  the  middle  of  the  afternoon  Taben,  Rodt  and  Hamm  had  been  taken. 

Simultaneous  with  the  attack  of  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  on  the  morn- 
ing of  the  20th,  Major  Stanion's  1st  Battalion  jumped  off  to  the  east 
from  its  positions  around  Oberleuken.  After  reducing  a  series  of  six 
enemy-held  pillboxes,  the  troops  continued  their  drive  into  the  woods 
extending  westward  from  Orsholz.  This  advance  was  continued  on 
the  21st  when  the  battalion  cleared  the  Oberleuken-Orsholz  road  and 
the  woods  southeast  of  the  former  town. 

Task  Force  Gaddis 

On  the  night  of  the  19th,  Task  Force  Gaddis,  composed  of  the  2d 
Battalion  of  the  302d  and  the  1st  Battalion  of  the  301st,  moved  into 
Keblingen.  The  following  morning  as  the  3d  Battalion  of  the  302d 
moved  to  attack  Weiten,  the  2d  Battalion  of  the  302d  followed  at 
about  four  hundred  yards.  To  the  rear  of  Major  Maixner's  men,  by 
about  the  same  distance,  came  the  1st  Battalion,  301st.  En  route  to 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt's  objective,  Task  Force  Gaddis  swung  south- 
east along  a  second-grade  road  that  ran  into  the  woods  northwest  of 
Orsholz. 

As  his  forward  assembly  area  Lieutenant  Colonel  Gaddis  had  chosen 
a  position  in  the  woods  about  five  hundred  yards  northwest  of  Orsholz. 
In  the  approach  march  Company  G  led,  followed  by  Companies  E,  F 
and  the  1st  Battalion,  301st.  The  point  was  in  charge  of  Private  First 
Class  Robert  S.  Karlix  whose  quick  action  in  the  vicinity  of  the  assem- 
bly area  netted  nineteen  prisoners  and  three  horse-drawn  carts.  By 
1150  hours  both  battalions  had  closed  in  the  assembly  area. 

Plan  of  attack  called  for  a  drive  on  Orsholz  from  the  north.  The 
Orsholz-Weiten  road  was  to  serve  as  the  boundary  between  battalions 
with  the  1st  Battalion  taking  the  west  of  town;  the  2d  Battalion  the 
east.  In  direct  support  of  the  operation  was  the  301st  Field  Artillery 
which  had  forward  observers  with  all  the  assault  units.  Company  H's 
mortars  were  brought  forward  from  Keblingen  to  the  assembly  area 
since  they  could  support  the  attack  more  readily  from  the  latter  posi- 
tion. Attached  to  the  task  force  was  one  platoon  of  light  tanks  and  a 
platoon  of  mediums.  These  vehicles  had  difficulty  in  crossing  Lenk 


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Branch  and  for  this  reason  the  attack  was  postponed  until  they  came 
into  position. 

Meanwhile,  a  patrol  led  by  Sergeant  Simond  J.  Sendric  was  sent 
toward  Weiten  to  determine  whether  or  not  there  was  anything  in 
rear  of  the  task  force  and  to  establish  contact  with  the  3d  Battalion, 
302d.  This  group  accomplished  its  mission,  returning  without  incident 
to  report  that  no  enemy  activity  was  noted  en  route.  While  this  was 
happening,  Company  E,  which  had  been  designated  the  2d  Battalion 
reserve,  dug  defensive  positions  in  the  woods  north  of  town  to  foil 
any  enemy  attempt  at  counterattack. 

At  1400  hours  the  east  wing  of  the  task  force  (2d  Battalion,  302d) 
launched  its  attack  with  Company  F,  deployed  with  all  three  rifle  pla- 
toons abreast,  on  the  left;  and  Company  G  on  the  right.  Because  of 
the  delayed  arrival  of  the  armor  there  had  not  been  time  to  arrange 
an  artillery  preparation. 

As  Company  F  moved  into  the  open,  supported  by  the  direct  fire 
of  the  tanks  and  the  overhead  fire  of  Sergeant  Joseph  A.  Romanowski's 
section  of  machine  guns,  they  were  engaged  by  enemy  automatic  wea- 
pons firing  from  Orsholz.  Ignoring  this  machine-gun  fire,  Captain 
Kop's  platoons  rushed  forward,  entering  town  on  the  double. 

Company  G,  after  negotiating  the  minefields  north  of  the  objective, 
advanced  in  its  zone  with  little  difficulty.  The  leading  platoons  entered 
Orsholz  and  had  the  task  of  clearing  the  company's  section  well  under 
way  before  the  supporting  tanks  arrived  in  town.  Captain  Griffin  who 
led  the  company  in  the  assault  kept  his  troops  pressing  forward  rapidly. 

Once  within  the  town,  Private  First  Class  James  Heard  of  Company 
H  set  his  machine  gun  in  position  in  the  middle  of  the  main  street  to 
keep  the  enemy  from  crossing  back  and  forth.  Sniper  fire  was  directed 
against  this  weapon  and  one  of  its  crew  hit.  As  the  American  infantry- 
men closed  in  on  the  sniper,  he  threw  down  his  rifle  and  surrendered. 
By  1800  hours  the  2d  Battalion  had  taken  all  of  its  objective,  rounding 
up  over  one  hundred  prisoners.  The  command  post  was  established  in 
Orsholz  and  plans  were  laid  for  a  continuation  of  the  attack  to  the 
south  the  following  day. 

Simultaneous  with  the  attack  of  the  2d  Battalion  of  the  302d,  the 
1st  Battalion  of  the  301st  struck  at  the  western  half  of  Orsholz.  Forma- 
tion prescribed  for  the  assault  was  column  of  companies,  Company  A 
leading  the  attack,  followed  by  Companies  B  and  C.  The  latter  units 
were  so  disposed  because  they  had  suffered  heavily  in  their  attack  on 
Munzingen  Ridge  the  previous  day,  and  were  seriously  understrength. 
Under  the  protective  fire  of  the  armor  supporting  the  operation,  Corn- 


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bombed  horn  the  air, 
.it,  tht 'iouchlv  searched 
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REDUCTION  OF  THE  TRIANGLE 


273 


of  the  area  where  his  company  had  been  isolated  a  month  earlier. 
Sergeant  Kelley  found  several  pieces  of  clothing  bearing  serial  numbers 
which  he  recognized.  Also  the  patrol  located  the  graves  of  several  men 
of  the  first  Company  B.  After  the  ill-fated  attack,  the  enemy  had  buried 
these  Americans  south  of  the  town. 

Companies  E  and  G  of  the  302d  also  moved  south  of  Orsholz  on 
the  morning  of  the  21st  to  seize  that  portion  of  the  pillbox  area  in  the 
zone  of  the  2d  Battalion.  A  roadblock  at  the  south  end  of  town  had 
to  be  blown  to  allow  the  tanks  to  accompany  the  infantry  troops.  As 
the  first  bunker  was  approached,  the  point  of  the  advance  guard 
observed  a  lone  German  sitting  on  a  chair  near  the  entrance  to  the 
bunker  quietly  reading  a  newspaper.  He  made  no  attempt  at  resistance 
and  readily  informed  the  party  that  practically  all  the  Germans  who 
had  been  manning  the  position  had  fled  east  during  the  night.  A 
careful  search  of  the  area  proved  the  truth  of  this  statement;  only 
two  prisoners  were  taken. 

As  Lieutenant  Butler  of  Company  E  led  his  men  to  the  last  bunker, 
which  was  in  the  vicinity  of  Nohn,  contact  was  made  with  the  5th 
Rangers.  Company  E  then  swung  east  into  the  woods  bordering  the 
Saar  River.  To  the  right,  Company  G  searched  its  assigned  area  and 
sent  a  contact  patrol  to  Ober  Tiinsdorf  which  was  also  held  by  the 
Rangers.  By  evening  the  mission  of  Task  Force  Gaddis,  and  of  the 
302d  Infantry  to  which  it  belonged,  was  completed. 

First  Sergeant  Thomas  F.  Hudgins  and  Technical  Sergeant  Howard 
J.  Morton  of  Company  F  arrived  in  Orsholz  following  its  fall,  after 
an  interesting  tour  of  the  Triangle.  They  had  been  picked  up  at  the 
Division  rest  camp  in  Cattenon,  France,  by  a  jeep  driver  who  assured 
them  he  knew  the  whereabouts  of  their  company.  The  party  proceeded 
up  the  Borg-Munzingen  road  and  continued  north  until  they  encoun- 
tered elements  of  the  10th  Armored  Division.  After  receiving  direc- 
tions from  the  tankers,  they  started  a  search  for  their  unit.  In  due 
course,  the  men  arrived  in  Orsholz  only  to  learn  that  they  had  been 
traveling  a  good  deal  of  the  time  over  roads  as  yet  unswept  by  the 
engineers. 

On  the  evening  of  the  21st  a  combat  patrol  under  Lieutenant  Hunter 
left  Orsholz  to  seize  Keuchingen,  which  lies  to  the  east  along  the  Saar 
River  opposite  Mettlach.  The  party  consisted  of  the  1st  Platoon  of 
Company  F,  one  light  and  two  medium  tanks,  a  machine-gun  section 
and  a  mortar  squad.  At  21 40  hours  this  patrol  arrived  on  the  high 


Original  from 
UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


lit 

mm 


i  ; 

Ml 


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etifer.eu  town  ana  searcnea  tne  nm  rew  nouses  irom  cei.mr  ro.  arac 

The  remainder  of  the  patrol  was  then  brought  forward  ami  a  thorough 

search  of  the  town  began.  Thi$  task  took -ftve'Jye  hours.  Shortly  after 

it  was  completed  dements  of  the 

forward  to  garrison Keaehm^en. 
I 


Ar  <mo  hoars  on  the -rriammj?  or  the  20th,  the  M  Battalion  move, 
from  W?ev  aion^  the  Sinx- Tubingen  road.   Aft^r  a  short  march  th 


the 


Driqiral  from 


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REDUCTION  OF  THE  TRIANGLE 


275 


withdrawn  from  Bannholz  Woods  during  the  night,  was  placed  in 
battalion  reserve. 

Following  a  five-minute  artillery  preparation,  the  assault  companies 
jumped  off  at  0700  hours.  As  they  moved  across  the  open  ground  and 
were  approaching  the  woods,  Company  G  was  engaged  by  several 
enemy  machine  guns.  Maneuver  to  the  right  was  restricted  by  a  Schii 
minefield  so  the  assault  elements,  employing  marching  fire,  rushed  the 
enemy  weapons.  This  fire  silenced  the  German  guns.  The  position  was 
overwhelmed  and  the  advance  continued.  Once  within  the  woods,  both 
companies  fanned  out  and  continued  forward.  When  another  machine 
gun  opened  up  on  the  left  of  the  company,  Sergeant  Harold  L.  Crosley 
and  his  squad  moved  against  it.  Darting  from  cover  to  cover  among 
the  trees,  the  men  made  poor  targets  for  the  German  gunners.  Soon 
the  infantrymen  closed  on  the  enemy  position  and  destroyed  it. 

Unknowingly,  Company  G  had  bypassed  one  German  machine  gun 
and  as  Captain  Dodson,  the  company  commander,  and  his  runner  en- 
tered the  woods,  the  crew  of  this  weapon  was  preparing  to  put  their 
weapon  in  action.  In  short  order  this  threat  was  eliminated.  Mean- 
while, the  battalion  swept  through  the  remainder  of  the  woods  un- 
opposed. 

On  the  edge  of  the  woods  south  of  Kreuzweiler,  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Martin's  battalion  stopped  and  reorganized.  Then,  at  0805  hours  the 
attack  on  the  town  itself  was  launched.  The  leading  elements  of  the 
battalion  had  dashed  across  the  open  ground  and  gained  the  shelter 
of  the  first  houses  when  a  heavy  mortar  concentration  fell.  Through 
this  and  intense  small-arms  fire,  the  remainder  of  the  assault  waves 
rushed  for  the  cover  of  the  southmost  buildings  in  Kreuzweiler.  Enemy 
fire  on  the  town  continued  heavy  but  the  attack  was  pressed  sharply. 
By  1000  hours,  half  the  town  had  been  cleared  and  ninety-six  prisoners 
taken.  To  maintain  a  steady  pressure  upon  the  German  defenders 
platoons  were  passed  one  through  the  other.  Every  house  had  to  be 
assaulted.  As  the  attack  continued,  the  Germans  were  forced  into  an 
ever  smaller  area.  Two-thirds  of  the  town  was  in  American  hands  by 
1300  hours;  resistance  grew  stiff er  all  the  time.  One  of  the  prisoners 
taken  in  Kreuzweiler  turned  out  to  be  a  Jap,  the  first  taken  by  the  94th. 

About  this  time  a  German  counterattacking  force  of  four  tanks 
and  one  hundred  infantry  was  moving  south  from  Dilmar  on  the 
Kreuzweiler-Dilmar  road.  Previously  the  919th  Field  Artillery  Bat- 
talion had  registered  on  the  road  junction  midway  between  these  towns 
and  when  the  Germans  reached  the  artillery  check  point,  they  moved 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


squarely  into  a  deadly  artillery  concentration.  This  stopped  the  counter- 
attack cold  and  the  enemy  never  managed  to  form  for  another. 

At  1335  hours  Combat  Command  R  of  the  10th  Armored  Division 
rolled  into  town.  After  checking  the  front-line  positions  of  the  two 
assault  companies,  the  tanks  took  off  with  their  guns  blazing.  They 
swept  through  the  enemy-held  portion  of  town  and  north  to  Dilmar. 
In  the  face  of  this  display  of  force,  the  last  German  resistance  melted. 
Thirty  minutes  later  the  town  had  been  mopped  up  and  was  completely 
cleared.  Prisoner  tally  for  the  operation  passed  the  hundred  mark. 

Company  E,  the  battalion  reserve,  had  meanwhile  been  assigned 
several  additional  missions.  The  1st  Platoon  swung  west  of  Kreuz- 
weiler  and  took  positions  from  which  it  could  protect  the  left  flank 
of  the  battalion.  During  the  afternoon  a  patrol  investigated  Thorner 
Woods  where  it  captured  an  enemy  machine  gun  and  crew.  The  2d 
Platoon  of  the  company  had  the  task  of  completely  clearing  the  woods 
south  of  Kreuzweiler.  It  speedily  completed  this  assignment;  then 
assumed  positions  below  the  town  along  the  northern  edge  of  the 
woods. 

On  the  morning  of  the  20th  prior  to  attacking  Thorn  the  94th  Recon- 
naissance Troop  and  the  Division  Headquarters  Defense  Platoon, 
which  had  requested  action,  assembled  at  the  crossroads  in  Wies. 
This  force,  organized  in  two  platoons,  proceeded  north  toward  their 
objective.  Their  line  of  departure  was  the  draw  just  south  of  Thorn 
which  was  reached  via  the  communication  trench  running  parallel  to 
the  Bubingen-Thorn  road.  In  support  of  the  operation  were  two 
light  and  two  medium  tanks;  arrangements  had  also  been  made  for 
a  five-minute  artillery  preparation. 

At  0700  hours  the  platoon  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Frank  A. 
Penn  cleared  the  line  of  departure  and  moved  forward,  but  the  remain- 
ing platoon  of  the  provisional  force  was  stopped  almost  immediately 
by  heavy  mortar  and  artillery  fire.  Surrounding  the  town  were  thou- 
sands of  mines  most  of  which  were  of  the  antipersonnel  variety.  These 
delayed  the  attack  somewhat.  One  of  the  supporting  tanks  was  dis- 
abled outside  of  Thorn  by  an  AT  mine  and  as  the  crew  dismounted 
to  continue  fighting  as  infantry,  the  tank  commander  and  a  corporal 
were  killed  by  enemy  fire. 

The  defenses  of  Thorn  were  built  around  a  chateau  which  was  the 
largest  building  in  the  town.  Two  of  the  remaining  tanks  assisted 
the  assaulting  troops  while  the  third  was  sent  to  the  Moselle  to  act 
as  flank  security.  In  town  the  tankers  poured  shells  into  the  chateau 


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and  the  surrounding  buildings.  As  the  fighting  continued,  one  of  the 
armored  vehicles  approached  to  within  twenty  feet  of  the  chateau  and 
fired  two  rounds  through  a  window.  Bazookamen  added  their  fire  and 
behind  this  support  the  Recon  and  Defense  Platoon  men  stormed  the 
fortress.  This  building  netted  twenty-five  prisoners.  Soon  the  entire 
town  was  cleared  and  the  1st  Platoon  of  the  94th  Reconnaissance 
Troop  outposted  the  area.  At  2200  hours,  the  Germans  deluged  Thorn 
with  a  120mm  mortar  barrage  which  caused  the  heaviest  casualties  of 
the  entire  operation,  wounding  fourteen  men  of  the  Recon  Troop. 

As  the  armor  passed  through  this  composite  force,  it  reverted  to 
94th  control.  However,  movement  proved  impossible  until  the  follow- 
ing day  as  the  tankers  had  exclusive  road  priority.  When  Captain 
Ashton's  men  returned  to  the  Division  zone,  they  passed  through  Com- 
pany I  of  the  301st  and  continued  to  push  toward  Saarburg.  Their 
new  mission  was  to  clear  the  northern  half  of  the  Division  sector,  at 
the  same  time  maintaining  contact  with  the  10th  Armored  Division. 

Plan  of  attack  of  the  10th  Armored  called  for  an  assault  along  three 
axes  of  advance.  The  major  thrust  was  aimed  up  the  Borg-Munzingen 
road  along  Munzingen  Ridge,  now  wide  open  in  the  path  of  the  pene- 
tration of  the  94th.  To  the  west  another  thrust  was  pushed  up  the 
road  leading  northwest  from  Sinz,  cleared  by  the  301st  and  376th. 
Still  farther  west,  the  third  drive  was  parallel  to  the  Moselle  over 
ground  opened  up  by  the  376th,  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop  and 
DHQ  Defense  Platoon.  All  three  armored  columns  were  slowed  down 
the  morning  of  the  20th  by  hasty  defenses  which  the  enemy  had  thrown 
up  during  the  night.  German  antitank  guns  in  and  around  Kirf  proved 
particularly  troublesome.  A  blown  bridge  beyond  Thorn  also  impeded 
the  advance  initially,  but  during  the  afternoon  all  enemy  resistance 
was  swept  aside  and  the  armor  raced  north.  Despite  the  coming  of 
darkness,  the  attack  was  pressed  and  at  midnight  the  apex  of  the 
Triangle  reached.  None  of  the  bridges  over  the  Saar  or  the  Moselle 
was  taken  intact;  all  that  then  remained  was  to  mop  up  the  scattered 
pockets  of  resistance  that  had  been  left  in  the  wake  of  the  advancing 
tanks. 

This  clean-up  mission  fell  to  the  376th  Infantry.  At  0900  hours  on 
the  21st,  the  2d  Battalion,  which  had  been  assigned  the  left  of  the 
regimental  zone  for  the  mopping-up  operation,  advanced  north  from 
Kreuzweiler.  The  battalion  moved  out  with  all  three  companies  in 
line:  Company  F  on  the  left,  Company  E  in  the  center,  Company  G 
on  the  right,  to  sweep  the  area  from  the  Moselle  on  the  left  to  a 


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HEADQUARTERS  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 
APO  94       U.S.  Army 


21  February  1945 


AG  201.22  (2lFeb45)  CG 
SUBJECT:  Commendation. 

TO         :  Soldiers  of  the  94th  Inf  Division  &  Attached  Units. 

1.  Today  marks  the  victorious  end  of  a  series  of  operations  to 
capture  the  triangle  of  German  territory  between  the  Saar  and  the 
Moselle  Rivers. 

2.  Your  courage,  endurance,  and  skill  in  fighting  have  made  this 
possible. 

3.  I  congratulate  every  one  of  you  on  a  magnificent  battlefield 
performance. 

4.  The  combats  in  tettingen-butzdorf,  nennig,  wies,  berg, 
and  later  the  captures  of  keblingen,  freudenburg,  weiten, 
ORSHOLZ,  and  kollesleuken  all  showed  your  military  qualities 
and  these  fights  \)vill  live  long  in  this  Division's  history. 

5.  Your  successes  have  had  a  great  effect  upon  the  War.  You 
have  practically  annihilated  two  German  divisions  and  have  reduced 
the  combat  efficiency  of  a  third  (Panzer  Division)  to  a  small  frac- 
tion of  its  original  efficiency.  You  have  captured  2,851  prisoners 
and  wrested  from  the  enemy  more  than  65  square  miles  of  wealthy, 
productive  country. 

6.  Your  efforts  are  understood  and  appreciated  by  your  com- 
manders and  by  your  country. 

HARRY  J.  MALONY 
Major  General,  U.S.  Army 
Commanding 


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^t,„  „    ,  „ 


abreast:  Company  i  on  fhe  k-f>,  Gnmpaoy  K  m  ti>c  k\. 
L  on'  the  n^hr.  •  Agaiiiv  there:  was  little  {UKfton  and  the  stta^.lers 
le 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


its  uninterruped  advance  and  was  just  closing  into  Bilzingen  at  1830 
hours  when  orders  were  received  to  proceed  to  Mannebach  without 
delay.  At  the  same  time,  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  which  had  been 
motorized  and  placed  in  regimental  reserve  prior  to  the  beginning  of 
the  attack  on  the  19th,  was  also  ordered  forward  to  Mannebach. 

By  the  close  of  the  21st,  the  Saar-Moselle  Triangle  was  completely 
American — the  attrition  policy  had  paid  off.  All  objectives  had  been 
taken.  The  94th  held  the  area  from  Orsholz  north  to  Staadt  and  east 
to  the  Saar  River,  while  CT  376  and  the  10th  Armored  Division 
controlled  the  rest  of  the  Triangle.  In  three  days  the  Division  had 
captured  five  times  as  much  ground  as  had  been  won  in  all  of  the 
preceding  month  and  had  added  1,469  PWs  to  an  ever-mounting  total. 

A  great  victory  had  been  won  but  the  price  had  been  high.  On 
the  19th,  611  wounded  passed  through  the  clearing  station.  The  fol- 
lowing day  casualties  totalled  344  and  the  toll  on  the  21st  came  to 
173  wounded.  To  treat  and  evacuate  these  men  speedily,  the  319th 
Medical  Battalion  was  pressed  to  the  utmost.  Four  treatment  sections 
were  set  up  and  worked  at  top  speed.  Non transportable  cases  were 
passed  to  the  30th  General  Hospital  while  the  transportable  cases  were 
moved  to  the  100th  Evacuation  Hospital  in  Luxembourg.  Many  of 
the  casualties  were  from  Schii  mines  which  characteristically  blew  off 
one  or  both  feet  or  mangled  them  to  the  point  where  amputation  was 
necessary.  Removal  of  the  wounded  and  dead  from  these  antipersonnel 
minefields  was  always  difficult  and  dangerous;  Captain  Donald  M. 
Stewart,  the  graves  registration  officer  of  the  301st  Infantry,  was  killed 
while  engaged  in  just  such  work.  Mines,  mortars  and  artillery  fire 
accounted  for  the  greatest  share  of  the  total  casualties  for  only  twelve 
per  cent  of  the  wounds  inflicted  were  the  result  of  small-arms  fire.  Of 
the  wounded  received  at  the  clearing  company  only  one-tenth  of  one 
per  cent  died.  During  the  three-day  operation  the  319th  Medical 
Battalion  used  forty  cases  of  blood  plasma. 


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PART  FIVE 
GERMANY:  ACROSS  THE  SAAR 


Go  forward  with  everything  you've  got.  Speed 
and  power  .  .  . 

MA  J.  GEN.  WALTON  H.  WALKER 
CG,  XX  CORPS,  FEBRUARY  21,  1945 


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Chapter  30:  THE  BRIDGEHEAD 


DURING  THE  AFTERNOON  of  February  21,  1945,  as  the 
spearheads  of  the  Division  closed  up  to  the  Saar  River,  feeling 
among  the  troops  ran  high.  The  drive  through  the  Triangle 
had  been  spectacular  and  the  corps  commander  himself  had  indicated 
that  with  the  clearing  of  this  area,  the  Division  would  belly-up  to  the 
Saar,  outpost  the  river  and  enjoy  a  well  earned  rest.  Such  was  not  the 
case.  At  about  1400  hours  Lieutenant  Harold  J.  Donkers,  one  of  the 
Division  liaison  officers,  called  Division  Headquarters  in  Freudenburg 
from  the  Corps  CP.  "Back  here  they're  talking  about  a  river  crossing/' 
Lieutenant  Donkers  reported,  "and  if  it's  made,  we'll  be  making  it." 
Although  the  idea  of  an  immediate  crossing  seemed  fantastic,  General 
Malony  instructed  Colonel  Bergquist  to  alert  the  regimental  com- 
manders and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Ellis  of  the  engineers.  Preliminary 
preparations  for  an  assault  crossing  of  the  Saar  River  were  to  be 
initiated  at  once. 

Time  available  for  reconnaissance  and  planning  was  extremely  short. 
Furthermore,  it  seemed  almost  impossible  that  the  necessary  materials 
and  supplies  for  such  an  operation  could  be  gathered  on  short  notice. 
As  best  they  could,  the  various  commanders  began  their  preparations 
for  orders  they  hoped  would  not  be  issued.  An  aerial  reconnaissance 
along  the  Saar  River  from  Merzig  to  Trier  was  ordered  by  General 
Fortier,  and  this  assignment  fell  to  Lieutenant  George  F.  Shaw,  a 
liaison  pilot  of  Headquarters  &  Headquarters  Battery,  94th  Division 
Artillery.  Colonel  Hagerty  and  Colonel  Johnson,  meanwhile,  dis- 
patched patrols  to  investigate  the  west  bank  of  the  river  for  possible 
crossing  sites  and  likely  OPs.  The  engineers,  who  had  exactly  fourteen 
assault  boats  on  hand,  contacted  corps  to  learn  what  further  river- 
crossing  equipment  could  be  supplied. 

At  1804  hours  Lieutenant  Donkers  arrived  at  Division  Headquarters 
with  XX  Corps  Field  Order  No.  11: 

The  XX  Corps  attacks  22  February  to  exploit  their  breakthrough,  seize  Trier, 
and  expand  the  bridgehead  to  the  line  Pfalzel  to  Hamm  and  will  be  prepared 
to  continue  the  attack  to  the  northeast  or  north  on  Army  Order  .  .  .  The  10th 
Armored  Division  (attached  376th  Combat  Team)  attacks  to  the  northeast  to 
seize  Trier  .  .  .  The  94th  Infantry  Division  attacks  across  the  Saar  between 
Saarburg  and  Hamm  on  the  night  of  the  21st-22d  of  February  to  establish  the 
line  Geizenburg  south  to  the  river  bend  at  Hamm,  and  will  be  prepared  to 
continue  the  attack  to  the  northeast  on  Corps  order. 

This  order  also  indicated  certain  attachments  to  the  Division  for  this 
operation:  the  778th  Tank  Battalion,  less  Company  C;  the  704th  TD 
Battalion,  less  Company  C;  the  465th  AAA  Battalion;  the  774th  TD 

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Battalion;  and  Company  C  of  the  81st  Chemical  Mortar  Battalion. 

There  was  no  longer  any  doubt.  Before  dawn  the  94th  would  begin 
an  assault  crossing  of  the  Saar  River.  Meanwhile,  there  was  much 
to  be  done.  Detailed  plans  had  to  be  formulated  and  coordinated, 
crossing  sites  selected,  infantry  and  artillery  units  moved  into  new 
positions,  additional  engineers  and  river-crossing  equipment  obtained 
and  brought  to  the  crossing  sites.  Food,  ammunition  and  gasoline  had 
to  be  hauled  forward  from  supply  installations  which,  in  some  in- 
stances, had  been  left  forty  and  more  miles  to  the  rear  by  the  rapid 
advance  of  the  past  three  days.  It  was  going  to  be  a  busy  night. 

The  two  hours  immediately  following  the  arrival  of  the  corps  order 
were  a  period  of  concentrated  action  in  the  Division  command  post. 
By  2000  hours  plans  were  made  and  approved  and  a  Division  field 
order  formulated.  In  the  G-3  section,  the  regimental  liaison  officers, 
Lieutenant  William  G.  Vincent  of  the  301st  Infantry  and  Lieutenant 
Laurence  G.  Byrnes  of  the  302d  Infantry,  received  copies  of  the  Divi- 
sion order  and  rushed  them  to  their  respective  regiments.  There  re- 
mained only  eight  hours  before  the  crossing  was  to  begin. 

The  301st  Infantry  was  ordered  to  cross  at  0400  hours  and  establish 
a  bridgehead  from  Serrig  north  to  a  point  opposite  Krutweiler,  con- 
tinue the  advance  and  gain  its  assigned  portion  of  the  Division's 
initial  objective  which  was  a  chain  of  hills  some  six  thousand  yards 
east  of  Serrig.  Also,  the  regiment  was  to  maintain  contact  with  the 
10th  Armored  Division  on  the  left  and  the  302d  on  the  right. 

The  302d  Infantry  was  likewise  scheduled  to  cross  at  0400  hours. 
It  was  to  secure  a  bridgehead  from  Serrig  south  to  the  river  bend  at 
Hamm,  push  to  the  east  and  seize  that  part  of  the  Division's  initial 
objective  in  its  zone.  Colonel  Johnson's  men  were  charged  further  with 
protecting  the  right  flank  of  the  301st  and  maintaining  contact  with 
the  5th  Ranger  Battalion  to  the  south,  on  the  west  bank  of  the  river. 

Earlier  in  the  day,  upon  the  receipt  of  the  alert,  Colonel  Hagerty 
had  instructed  Lieutenant  Colonel  McNulty,  commanding  his  3d  Bat- 
talion, to  send  a  strong  reconnaissance  patrol  to  investigate  Staadt. 
At  the  same  time,  Colonel  Dohs,  commanding  the  2d  Battalion,  had 
been  instructed  to  send  a  reconnaissance  party  into  Krutweiler.  These 
two  towns  were  the  only  possible  crossing  sites  within  the  regimental 
zone.  Through  them  passed  the  two  roads  that  led  down  to  the  river, 
from  the  cliffs  and  steep  hills  along  the  west  bank.  The  regimental 
I&R  Platoon  was  directed  to  reconnoiter  all  roads  and  trails  leading 
into  Krutweiler  and,  in  addition,  to  locate  and  man  observation  posts 
from  which  the  far  bank  of  the  river  could  be  watched  and  studied. 


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Prior  to  the  arrival  of  the  Division  field  order,  the  I&R  Platoon 
reported  that  the  enemy  still  held  Krutweiler.  Contact  had  been  made 
with  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop  outside  the  village  and  the  cavalry 
reported  that  the  enemy  were  numerically  their  superior.  A  short  time 
later,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Dohs  and  his  reconnaissance  party  corrobo- 
rated this  information.  Thus,  it  became  apparent  that  if  the  crossing 
were  to  be  launched  at  the  time  designated,  it  would  have  to  be  made 
at  Staadt;  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  which  was  garrisoning  both  Kastel 
and  Staadt,  became  the  logical  choice  for  the  assault  operation. 

The  302d  Infantry  was  also  having  difficulty  finding  a  crossing  site. 
A  possible  location  at  Hamm  was  discarded  because  there  was  no  road 
leading  to  the  river;  moreover,  enemy  snipers  were  already  emplaced 
among  the  rocky  heights  on  the  far  shore  in  this  vicinity.  Farther 
south,  outside  the  assigned  bridgehead  area,  was  the  town  of  Taben 
and  there  it  was  decided  the  regiment  would  cross  for  the  road  leading 
into  town  was  good  and  continued  to  the  river.  Below  the  town,  it  was 
winding  and  steep  leading  to  an  old  bridge  completely  demolished 
by  the  Germans  in  their  retreat  across  the  Saar.  The  near  bank  was 
found  to  be  only  a  fair  launching  area  while  the  east  or  enemy  bank 
was  worse,  since  it  consisted  of  a  twelve-foot,  vertical  retaining  wall 
on  which  scaling  ladders  had  been  located  at  various  intervals.  Imme- 
diately beyond  the  wall,  and  paralleling  the  river,  were  a  highway  and 
railroad.  Beyond  these  the  terrain  rose  in  a  vertical  rock  cliff  some 
four  hundred  feet  high.  This  escarpment  was  crowned  by  Hocker  Hill. 

Taben  was  practically  everything  that  a  good  crossing  site  should 
not  be,  but  it  was  the  only  one  available  to  Colonel  Johnson.  It  was 
free  of  snipers  and  in  all  likelihood  the  enemy  would  not  expect  an 
American  crossing  at  this  point.  Further,  it  was  obvious  that  Hocker 
Hill,  because  of  its  dominating  position,  would  have  to  be  secured 
if  the  302d  was  to  protect  the  south  flank  of  the  proposed  bridgehead 
area.  The  1st  Battalion,  302d,  which  was  located  in  Oberleuken,  was 
instructed  to  cross  at  Taben  at  0400  hours  on  the  morning  of  the  22d. 

Concerning  the  disposition  of  enemy  forces  across  the  Saar,  G-2 
could  supply  little  information.  No  patrols  had  yet  crossed  the  river, 
but  it  was  logically  assumed  that  the  Germans  were  confused  and 
disorganized  by  the  Division's  drive  of  the  past  three  days.  It  was  a 
known  fact  that  the  main  defenses  of  the  Siegfried  Line  or  Westwall, 
paralleling  the  east  bank  of  the  Saar,  were  perfectly  sited  to  cover 
the  river  and  well  constructed.  The  enemy  had  observation,  prepared 
fields  of  fire,  ideal  artillery  positions,  underground  communications 
and  massive  pillboxes,  all  protected  by  minefields  and  wire.  The  ter- 


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t  919th  Field  Artillery  Battalion  was  with  the  3?(3tii  Coi 


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Cavalry  fur  the  corning  operation, 
:  XX,  Cor  ps  Hngi.neer<  infarmed  the  .division  that  the  1 1 59r.h  Engineer 


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able  only  about  sixty  assault  boats  and  five  motorboats.  These  were 
to  be  dispatched  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  Ellis  at  once. 

When  the  corps  boats  had  not  arrived  in  the  Division  area  by  2230 
hours,  Major  Albert  R.  Hoffman,  S-3  of  the  319th  Engineers,  started 
a  search  for  the  promised  equipment.  Two  miles  outside  of  Freuden- 
burg,  the  boat  convoy  was  located.  The  drivers  of  these  vehicles  had 
pulled  off  the  road  and  made  themselves  comfortable  for  the  night, 
but  it  was  not  long  before  the  major  had  the  trucks  rolling  again. 
After  some  road  difficulties  and  several  delays,  the  sixty-four  boats 
arrived  at  Freudenburg  where  the  convoy  was  split  and  half  the  assault 
boats  sent  to  each  of  the  crossing  sites. 


At  2200  hours  on  the  night  of  the  21st,  Major  Stanion  in  Oberleuken 
received  the  regimental  order  directing  the  1st  Battalion  to  cross  the 
Saar  at  0400  hours  the  following  morning.  It  was  well  after  dark  and 
there  was  no  opportunity  for  detailed  reconnaissance.  Within  a  short 
period  of  time,  the  battalion  commander  assembled  his  troops,  loaded 
them  on  trucks  and  started  toward  the  bridge  site.  Company  C,  which 
had  been  designated  to  lead  the  crossing,  arrived  in  Taben  first  and 
detrucked.  At  this  time  there  was  little  enemy  fire  falling  on  the  town 
and  from  the  engineers  it  was  learned  that  the  corps  boats  had  not 
yet  arrived.  Time  passed — still  the  necessary  river-crossing  equipment 
did  not  put  in  an  appearance.  At  about  0500  hours,  or  one  hour  after 
the  designated  time  of  crossing,  the  corps  boats  arrived  at  Taben.  The 
leading  engineer  vehicle  was  quickly  unloaded  and  six  assault  boats, 
each  of  which  weighed  one  thousand  pounds,  were  started  down  the 
steep,  twisting  road  to  the  river,  manhandled  by  the  infantrymen  who 
were  to  make  the  assault  crossing.  In  the  river  valley  the  fog  was  as 
thick  as  milk.  Chemical  smoke  could  not  have  provided  better  con- 
cealment, but  it  was  noticed  that  sound  traveled  extremely  well  in  the 
damp  air.  After  an  hour  and  five  minutes  of  back-breaking  work,  the 
first  boat  reached  the  water's  edge.  The  men  who  had  sweated  and 
strained  to  get  it  into  position  were  utterly  exhausted. 

The  time  consumed  in  getting  these  first  assault  boats  into  position 
led  Lieutenant  Colonel  Ellis  to  make  a  risky  decision.  He  ordered  the 
drivers  of  the  unloaded  boat  trucks  to  cut  their  motors  and  coast  down 
hill  to  a  point  about  three  hundred  yards  from  the  river  bank.  This 
was  done  and  the  remainder  of  the  boats  was  soon  at  the  crossing 
site.  These  craft,  of  wooden  construction,  flat-bottomed,  and  about 
twenty  feet  long,  were  each  capable  of  accommodating  twelve  men  plus 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


their  personal  equipment.  Hence,  the  normal  load  for  a  single  boat 
during  the  crossing  operations  was  its  crew  of  two  engineers  and  ten 
infantrymen.  Each  of  the  occupants  of  a  boat  manned  a  paddle  while 
one  of  the  engineers  steered  the  craft  from  the  stern. 

At  the  water's  edge,  the  troops  discovered  it  was  impossible  to  see 
the  far  bank  through  the  fog.  From  recent  thaws,  the  river  was  swollen 
and  turbulent  and  the  rush  of  the  stream  tended  to  cover  the  little 
noise  made  by  the  men  of  Company  C  as  they  prepared  to  cross.  Staff 
Sergeant  John  F.  Smith  loaded  his  squad  into  the  first  boat  along  with 
the  engineers  who  were  to  man  the  craft,  and  at  0650  hours  on  Wash- 
ington's Birthday,  1945,  the  crossing  began.  The  seven-mile-an-hour 
current  made  paddling  difficult,  but  the  far  shore  was  reached  without 
incident.  There,  the  twelve-foot  retaining  wall  at  the  water's  edge 
was  encountered,  but  the  squad  was  fortunate  in  that  it  found  a  ladder 
which  the  Germans  had  left  in  place. 

Mounting  the  ladder,  Sergeant  Smith's  squad  gained  the  top  of  the 
wall  where  they  surprised  two  Germans  standing  outside  a  pillbox 
and  took  them  prisoner.  Seven  more  PWs  were  taken  from  this  same 
box  without  a  struggle.  By  this  time,  most  of  the  2d  Platoon  had 
arrived  and  started  forward  to  protect  the  crossing  of  the  rest  of  the 
battalion.  The  1st  Squad  of  the  1st  Platoon  followed  and  began  a 
search  of  the  area  to  the  left  of  the  landing  site.  Fifty  yards  from 
the  first  pillbox,  a  German  soldier  was  spotted  walking  around  a 
second  fortification.  He  was  shot  and  the  squad  pushed  farther  north. 
Soon  the  men  encountered  sniper  fire  which  halted  them  until  they 
were  able  to  outflank  the  opposition  and  push  on  downstream,  where 
they  encountered  a  third  box  and  took  its  occupants  prisoner.  It  was 
then  decided  to  return  to  the  crossing  site.  En  route  the  four  snipers 
who  had  been  by-passed  were  rounded  up. 

Back  at  the  crossing,  the  squad  leader  reported  to  Major  Stanion 
who  instructed  him  to  move  south  next  and  eliminate  any  enemy  in 
position  to  the  right  of  the  slender  bridgehead.  Two  hundred  and 
fifty  yards  up  the  river,  eighteen  more  prisoners  were  captured  from 
another  pillbox.  Sergeant  William  Wollenberg,  who  speaks  German, 
took  one  of  the  prisoners  with  him  to  assist  in  clearing  the  other 
fortifications  in  the  vicinity.  The  sergeant  persuaded  his  prisoner  to 
call  to  his  comrades,  telling  them  they  were  surrounded  by  a  force  of 
four  hundred  fully  armed  Americans.  This  ruse  netted  another  forty- 
seven  Germans.  Private  First  Class  James  Stephenson  was  left  to  guard 
these  prisoners  while  the  rest  of  the  squad  continued  up  the  river. 
Several  more  pillboxes  were  located  and  searched. 


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To  reinforce  the  bridgehead  with  their  HMGs,  the  1st  Platoon  of 
Company  D  followed  the  rifle  platoons  of  the  assault  company.  In 
turn,  they  were  followed  by  Companies  A  and  B  each  of  which  had  a 
section  of  machine  guns  from  the  2d  Platoon  of  Company  D  attached. 
Enemy  resistance  consisted  exclusively  of  sporadic  sniper  fire.  The 
only  mishap  in  the  operation  occurred  when  one  of  the  assault  boats 
capsized  and  four  men  were  drowned. 

Major  Stanion's  plan  of  advance  called  for  Companies  A  and  B 
to  pass  through  Lieutenant  Robinson's  men,  who  had  scaled  and  cap- 
tured the  sheer  heights  of  Hocker  Hill,  move  down  stream  and  secure 
the  battalion's  assigned  objectives  in  the  town  of  Serrig.  Upon  being 
passed  through,  Company  C  was  to  bring  up  the  rear  of  the  battalion 
column.  Prior  to  the  jump-off  of  the  leading  companies,  Lieutenant 
Robinson  sent  a  patrol  down  the  trail  that  led  from  west  of  the  sum- 
mit of  Hocker  Hill  to  the  road  into  Serrig.  The  patrol  encountered 
no  Germans  and  after  proceeding  a  short  distance  it  returned.  About 
noon  Companies  A  and  B  moved  out  as  planned. 

At  the  point  where  the  above-mentioned  trail  joined  the  road  into 
Serrig,  the  Germans  had  built  a  pillbox  in  the  semblance  of  a  small 
brick  house.  To  the  left,  the  terrain  fell  away  sharply  to  the  river 
far  below,  while  to  the  right,  the  ground  rose  still  higher.  Company 
A,  in  the  lead  and  marching  in  single  file,  passed  this  point  unopposed. 
As  Company  B  reached  the  junction,  enemy  bunkers  to  the  east  opened 
fire.  However,  by  using  infiltration  tactics  the  company  passed  the 
danger  area.  With  the  arrival  of  Company  C,  this  enemy  fire  increased 
in  intensity. 

Lieutenant  Richards  took  a  squad  of  the  3d  Platoon  up  the  hill 
to  silence  some  snipers  who  were  engaging  the  company;  at  the  same 
time  Technical  Sergeant  James  Cousineau  was  instructed  by  radio  to 
lead  the  1st  Platoon  over  Hocker  Hill  and  outflank  the  enemy  posi- 
tions. This  maneuver  proved  successful,  for  the  enemy  withdrew  as 
Sergeant  Cousineau's  men  advanced  against  their  left  flank.  En  route, 
the  1st  Platoon  seized  three  unmanned  artillery  pieces  of  small  caliber 
on  the  trail  that  crossed  the  summit  of  Hocker  Hill. 

While  this  was  taking  place,  Companies  A  and  B  were  moving  west- 
ward along  the  heights  above  the  river.  To  their  front,  across  the  open 
ground  in  the  valley,  was  Serrig.  It  was  planned  that  Companies  A 
and  B  should  attack  the  town  while  Company  C  held  the  high  ground 
to  the  east. 

With  Company  A  as  they  prepared  for  this  attack  toward  Serrig 
was  Captain  Bruhl  of  the  356th  Field  Artillery.  When  a  group  of 


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tween  the  two  battalions.  Meanwhile,  Company  C  of  Major  Stanion's 
battalion,  less  one  platoon,  was  emplaced  on  the  high  ground  east  of 
town.  Just  after  dark,  the  3d  Platoon  of  this  company  repulsed  a 
violent  enemy  counterattack.  The  night  then  passed  quietly,  but  with 
the  coming  of  dawn  there  was  another  German  assault  which  was 
driven  back  only  after  an  hour  of  sharp  fighting. 

Because  of  the  fluid  situation  existing  during  the  night  of  the  22d 
and  the  morning  of  the  23d,  it  became  impossible  for  the  artillery  to 
learn  definitely  the  front  line  positions  of  both  battalions.  Fearing  that 
fire  missions  requested  by  one  of  the  infantry  battalions  might  land 
upon  the  other,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Brimmer  established  a  "No  Fire 
Line"  east  of  Serrig.  The  infantrymen  then  proceeded  with  their  task 
of  clearing  Serrig  without  artillery  support  or  assistance  from  the  tanks 
and  TDs  which  had  assumed  positions  on  the  ridge  south  of  Staadt, 
on  the  west  bank  of  the  Saar. 

While  the  initial  battalions  of  the  301st  and  302d  were  crossing 
at  Taben  and  Staadt,  other  elements  of  the  Division  were  busy  com- 
pleting former  assignments  or  preparing  to  follow  the  assault  units 
into  the  newly  won  bridgehead  areas.  Along  the  river,  in  the  towns 
of  Taben,  Rodt  and  Hamm,  the  men  of  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  had 
watched  and  heard  the  troops  of  the  1st  Battalion  move  down  to  the 
Saar.  The  fog  and  later  the  smoke  prevented  their  observing  the  actual 
crossing,  but  they  knew  by  the  small  volume  of  fire  directed  against 
Major  Stanion's  men  that  things  were  going  fairly  well  and  that  soon 
they  would  be  moving  to  the  crossing  site. 

At  about  noon,  elements  of  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion  relieved  Lieu- 
tenant Colonel  Cloudt's  men  and  an  hour  later  the  battalion  assembled 
in  Taben.  Enemy  artillery  fire  on  the  town  had  increased  in  intensity 
and  some  machine-gun  fire  was  being  received  from  the  cliffs  across 
the  river.  However,  it  was  still  little  more  than  harassing  fire.  This 
continued  throughout  the  afternoon. 

With  Company  L  leading,  the  3d  Battalion  began  its  crossing.  The 
boat  carrying  the  mortar  section  of  Company  K  capsized  and  all  its 
equipment  was  lost.  By  2200  hours  all  elements  of  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Cloudt's  command  had  crossed  the  river  and  started  the  long  haul  to 
the  top  of  Hocker  Hill.  The  cliff  was  almost  sheer  and  climbing  the 
steep  trails  that  led  up  its  face  was  exhausting  work.  Once  they  had 
gained  the  summit,  the  three  rifle  companies  organized  a  perimeter 


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Early  on  the  morning  of  the  22d  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop 
had  been  assigned  the  task  of  entering  Saarburg  to  clear  the  town  of 
snipers.  The  1st  Platoon,  led  by  Lieutenant  Jack  J.  Hubbell,  accom- 
plished this  mission  with  little  difficulty.  At  the  same  time,  the  other 
platoons  of  the  troop  cleared  the  woods  and  the  pillboxes  outside  of 
town. 

The  same  morning,  the  1st  Battalion,  301st,  moved  by  truck  from 
Orsholz  to  Trassem,  preparatory  to  crossing  the  river  at  Staadt.  The 
2d  Battalion,  302d,  in  Keuchingen,  was  alerted  to  follow  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Cloudt's  men  across  the  Saar  at  Taben.  Once  over  the  river, 
it  would  be  their  task  to  clear  completely  the  river  road  leading  into 
Serrig  and  the  cliffs  paralleling  it  which  were  harboring  many  snipers. 

Staadt  Crossing 

Shortly  after  midnight  on  the  21st,  it  became  evident  that  the  301st 
Infantry  was  going  to  have  trouble  making  its  crossing  at  0400  hours. 
Since  the  Company  I  patrol  dispatched  at  1 500  hours  had  not  returned, 
Lieutenant  Colonel  McNulty  organized  a  second  patrol  and  accom- 
panied it  to  Staadt.  It  was  decided  to  leave  the  battalion  in  Kastel 
until  the  arrival  of  the  assault  boats  which  would  have  to  pass  through 
the  town  en  route  to  Staadt.  Once  the  engineer  convoy  had  cleared 
Kastel,  the  battalion  would  start  down  to  the  river  and,  immediately 
upon  the  arrival  of  the  leading  elements,  initiate  the  crossing.  Com- 
panies I  and  K  were  to  cross  abreast  of  each  other,  in  an  attempt  to 
surprise  the  enemy  and  quickly  capture  the  numerous  pillboxes  on  the 
flat,  open  east  bank. 

At  0500  hours  a  motor  convoy  was  heard  approaching  Kastel,  and 
the  battalion  staff  breathed  a  sigh  of  relief.  Unfortunately,  it  was  not 
the  long-awaited  assault  boats.  One  of  the  battalion  motor  trains  of 
the  302d  Infantry  had  taken  the  wrong  road  out  of  Freudenburg. 
There  was  no  turn-about  in  town,  so  each  of  the  vehicles  had  to  be 
wheeled  around  on  the  narrow  main  street  and  returned  over  the  route 
by  which  the  column  had  entered  town.  As  this  was  taking  place,  the 
engineer  convoy  arrived  and  their  passage  through  town  was  blocked 
by  the  battalion  train.  Finally,  the  assault-boat  convoy  worked  past 
the  infantry  trucks;  in  the  process,  one  of  the  engineer  trailers  ditched 
and  over-turned.  As  a  result,  it  was  0615  hours  before  the  trucks 
carrying  the  assault  boats  cleared  the  town  and  the  foot  troops  were 
on  their  way  to  Staadt. 

As  the  companies  arrived  at  the  crossing  site,  boats  were  unloaded 
and  carried  toward  the  river  bank.  When  all  seemed  ready,  it  was 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


The  BAR  man  with  the  group  pinned  down  the  enemy  while  the 
scouts  closed  in  for  the  kill. 

This  American  fire  attracted  attention  and  several  enemy  machine 
guns  began  to  search  the  area.  The  company  commander  and  his 
party,  which  numbered  only  fifteen  men,  moved  back  to  the  river's 
edge  passing  under  the  abutments  of  the  old  bridge.  Taking  advantage 
of  the  cover  of  an  embankment  and  a  ditch,  the  party  then  worked 
forward  toward  the  first  few  houses  in  Serrig. 

Meanwhile,  the  remainder  of  the  company  was  spread  up  and  down 
the  east  bank  of  the  river,  in  groups  of  one-  and  two-boat  loads.  At 
the  northern  edge  of  Serrig,  a  group  about  the  size  of  a  squad  had 
taken  shelter  in  an  antitank  ditch.  Further  advance  was  hindered  by 
enemy  fire  until  Private  First  Class  Robert  L.  Chapman  leaped  from 
the  ditch  with  his  BAR  blazing  and  charged  a  pillbox  facing  the  AT 
ditch.  He  worked  his  way  to  the  rear  of  the  box  and  there  took  his 
first  prisoner.  With  a  little  persuasion,  this  German  talked  the  other 
occupants  of  the  box  into  surrendering.  Then  the  rest  of  the  squad 
was  brought  forward  and  prepared  to  defend  the  pillbox. 

As  time  passed  and  the  rest  of  the  company  failed  to  advance,  the 
enemy  began  to  close  in  on  three  sides  of  the  newly  won  position. 
Fearing  capture,  the  squad  elected  to  return  to  the  antitank  ditch. 
Covered  by  the  fire  of  Private  First  Class  Chapman's  BAR,  the  group 
rushed  for  the  ditch  and  made  it  safely.  As  Chapman  moved  to  join 
them,  a  grenade  was  thrown  by  one  of  two  Germans  who  had  worked 
into  position  to  flank  the  BAR  man.  Concussion  blew  Chapman  into 
the  ditch,  after  which  the  enemy  riflemen  rushed  forward  wounding 
him  in  the  shoulder.  Chapman  killed  both  of  the  Germans,  then  took 
position  on  the  edge  of  the  ditch  until  the  squad  had  re-organized. 

At  Staadt,  on  the  west  bank  of  the  Saar,  the  situation  was  also  far 
from  desirable.  Of  the  sixteen  boats  that  made  the  first  crossing  only 
six  returned  and  none  of  these  had  sufficient  paddles.  It  was  later 
discovered  that  in  the  excitement  of  landing  many  of  the  inexperienced 
troops  had  carried  their  paddles  ashore  with  them.  Captain  Horner 
of  the  319th  Engineers  sent  a  detail  to  salvage  the  boats  and  paddles 
on  the  overturned  trailer  in  Kastel  and  dispatched  an  urgent  request 
for  outboard-motor  boats  to  speed  crossing  operations.  At  0825  hours, 
word  was  received  that  the  motors  were  on  the  way. 

Although  the  enemy  could  not  see  the  crossing  site  through  the  fog, 
he  sprayed  the  general  area  with  incessant  machine-gun  fire.  Snipers 
who  had  been  bypassed  the  previous  day  in  the  rugged  terrain  on  the 
American  side  of  the  river,  soon  began  harassing  the  steep  road  from 


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Kastel  to  Staadt  and  a  patrol  from  Company  L  was  dispatched  to  clear 
them  out.  By  0930  hours,  German  artillery  and  mortar  fire  began  to 
land  on  Staadt  and  this  added  to  the  confusion. 

As  the  sun's  rays  fell  into  the  valley,  the  fog  dispelled  and  enemy 
observation  improved.  To  counteract  this,  Company  B  of  the  81st 
Chemical  Mortar  Battalion  dropped  white  phosphorus  shells  across 
the  river  to  screen  the  vision  of  the  German  gunners  and  OPs.  Smoke 
pots  were  also  brought  forward  and  ignited. 

The  mortar  and  artillery  fire,  which  at  first  had  been  sporadic,  began 
to  quicken.  It  increased  in  tempo  and  some  of  the  few  remaining 
assault  boats  were  hit;  because  of  the  shortage  of  craft,  it  was  impos- 
sible to  send  Company  K  over  in  a  single  wave.  At  1140  hours,  the 
1st  and  3d  Platoons  were  loaded  and  moved  across  the  Saar  with  in- 
structions to  contact  Captain  Donovan  at  the  old  bridge  site.  A  ter- 
rific artillery  concentration  sank  two  of  the  boats  and  punctured  several 
more.  By  noon  when  the  outboard  motors  arrived  there  was  only  one 
of  the  original  assault  boats  still  undamaged. 

When  the  storm  boats  and  their  22-horsepower  motors  were  un- 
loaded, spirits  began  to  rise.  With  the  outboards  it  would  be  possible  to 
quickly  negotiate  the  river  and  deploy  the  rest  of  the  battalion  on  the 
east  bank.  As  the  motors  were  unpacked,  it  was  discovered  they  were 
new  and  had  never  been  serviced.  Hastily  the  engineers  began  this 
task,  but  the  noise  drew  additional  and  more  accurate  enemy  fire.  Two 
of  the  storm  boats  and  three  of  the  operators  were  hit.  Following  this, 
the  servicing  of  the  motors  was  continued  in  the  basements  of  nearby 
buildings  where  the  outboards  were  tested  in  barrels  of  water.  Since 
there  were  no  replacements  available  for  the  wounded  boat  operators, 
it  became  necessary  to  draft  inexperienced  men  to  take  over  their  jobs. 
While  this  was  going  on  additional  assault  boats  arrived. 

At  1455  hours,  the  remainder  of  Company  K,  commanded  by  Cap- 
tain Warren,  embarked  and  crossed  the  river.  Lieutenant  Colonel 
McNulty,  accompanied  by  his  artillery  liaison  officer,  Captain  Donald 
M.  Aschermann;  a  Cannon  Company  observer,  Lieutenant  Rodney  A. 
Goodling;  the  CO  of  Company  M,  Captain  Emanuel  P.  Snyder;  radio 
operators  and  runners,  crossed  with  Captain  Warren. 

On  the  far  shore  as  Lieutenant  Colonel  McNulty  and  his  party 
approached  the  bridge  site,  they  found  Captain  Donovan  waiting  to 
lead  them  forward  to  the  shelter  of  the  first  few  houses  which  had 
been  taken  in  Serrig.  Most  of  Company  K  was  concentrated  in  the 
immediate  area  and  constituted  a  large  enough  force  to  start  pushing 
into  the  town  proper.   However,  before  the  advance  could  begin  it 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


was  necessary  to  eliminate  some  of  the  enemy  machine  guns  whose 
fire  was  whipping  down  the  streets  and  between  the  buildings.  To 
locate  these  guns,  Lieutenant  Colonel  McNulty  decided  it  would  be 
necessary  to  lift  the  smoke  screening  the  crossing.  This  was  done  and 
the  infantrymen  had  their  first  good  look  at  the  defenses  of  the  main 
Siegfried  Line. 

As  the  smoke  lifted  the  Germans  gained  unobstructed  observation 
of  the  crossing  site.  The  boats  along  the  river's  edge  were  accurately 
engaged  by  the  enemy's  artillery  and  automatic  weapons.  A  radio 
jeep  which  was  parked  on  the  main  street  in  Staadt  was  ripped  and 
riddled  by  a  ten-minute  machine-gun  concentration  and  a  20mm  gun 
on  the  high  ground  east  of  Serrig  blasted  away  at  the  hotel  that  was 
being  used  as  a  command  post  and  general  assembly  area.  This  fire 
made  it  suicidal  for  the  occupants  of  this  building  to  step  out  of  doors. 
Attempts  were  made  to  move  forward  a  tank  destroyer  to  engage 
these  enemy  weapons,  but  each  time  the  motor  was  started  the  Ger- 
mans threw  over  a  terrific  artillery  concentration.  At  1700  hours, 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Hardin,  the  executive  officer,  was  wounded  by  a 
shell  fragment  from  a  round  that  landed  in  the  doorway  of  the  hotel 
and  had  to  be  evacuated.  It  became  obvious  that  any  further  attempt 
at  crossing  the  river  before  the  coming  of  darkness  would  prove  abor- 
tive. Activity  at  the  river  was  therefore  halted  and  when  darkness 
settled  on  the  valley,  the  terrible  intensity  of  the  enemy  fire  began  to 
slacken.  But,  even  after  nightfall,  any  noise  in  the  vicinity  of  the 
crossing  site  brought  instant  and  accurate  reaction  from  the  German 
batteries. 

Across  the  river,  Companies  I  and  K  proceeded  with  the  task  of 
clearing  the  northern  portion  of  Serrig;  Company  L  crossed  early  in 
the  evening  with  only  minor  casualties.  As  the  moon  rose,  a  steady 
volume  of  well  directed  small-arms  fire  was  employed  against  all  com- 
panies. Request  was  made  for  smoke,  and  because  it  was  not  known 
exactly  how  far  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  had  penetrated  into  town,  the 
Chemical  Mortar  Company  decided  to  place  their  white  phosphorus 
rounds  between  the  railroad  tracks  and  the  river.  This  would  provide 
the  desired  smoke  without  endangering  either  of  the  attacking  forces. 

For  the  battalion  the  day  had  been  one  of  close,  hard  fighting.  On 
one  occasion,  Captain  Donovan,  his  radio  operator,  Private  First  Class 
Early  Corey  and  Private  First  Class  Carl  M.  Flaherty  formed  a  bazooka 
team  to  knock  out  a  German  machine  gun  holding  up  the  advance. 
Late  in  the  afternoon  when  ammunition  began  to  run  low  it  became 


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299 


necessary  to  collect  rounds  from  the  wounded.  Three  radio  operators 
in  Company  I  were  hit  during  the  day,  but  miraculously  the  radio 
escaped  unharmed.  One  of  the  mortar  observers  had  the  sight  shot  off 
his  Ml  by  a  German  in  the  next  building,  while  a  machine  gunner 
from  Company  M  had  a  box  of  ammunition  disintegrate  in  his  hand 
as  it  was  hit  by  a. burst  of  enemy  fire. 

It  had  taken  all  day  and  most  of  the  night  to  get  the  battalion  across 
the  Saar  and  punch  a  hole  through  the  outer  crust  of  the  Siegfried 
Line.  But,  by  0400  hours  on  the  23d  the  river  front  had  been  cleared, 
nineteen  houses  in  Serrig  taken  and  the  battalion  was  pushing  south. 

Technician  Fifth  Grade  Petri  of  Company  K,  who  speaks  fairly  good 
German,  found  a  resident  of  Serrig  among  the  prisoners  taken  during 
the  day  who  professed  to  know  the  location  of  all  pillboxes  in  the 
vicinity.  Using  a  telephone  in  one  of  the  captured  pillboxes,  he  made 
contact  with  an  occupied  bunker  and  arranged  for  its  surrender.  The 
agreement  was  for  both  parties  to  meet  midway  between  the  respective 
boxes.  Corporal  Petri,  his  squad  and  the  prisoner  took  off  for  the 
rendezvous.  They  arrived  at  the  designated  point  where  they  waited 
for  quite  some  time.  When  a  surrender  party  from  the  enemy  box 
failed  to  appear,  it  was  then  decided  to  proceed  to  the  German-held 
bunker.  As  the  Americans  approached  this  position,  a  machine  gun 
opened  fire.  Corporal  Petri  had  his  bazooka  team  near  the  head  of 
the  squad  and  immediately  it  engaged  the  pillbox.  This  first  round 
killed  the  German  gunner  and  destroyed  his  weapon.  The  remaining 
men  in  the  bunker  then  surrendered.  Encouraged  by  this  success,  the 
squad  repeated  the  operation.  By  daylight  eleven  pillboxes  had  been 
cleared  and  247  prisoners  taken. 

Private  First  Class  Thomas  A.  Sudberry,  a  medic,  made  the  crossing 
with  Company  K.  As  soon  as  his  boat  hit  the  far  shore,  he  dashed 
across  the  fire-swept  beach  and  worked  forward  to  help  some  of  Com- 
pany Ys  wounded.  Thirty  minutes  later  he  returned  to  assist  the 
casualties  inflicted  on  Companies  K  and  M  at  the  edge  of  the  river. 
While  working  on  one  of  the  wounded,  a  shell  burst  not  more  than 
ten  yards  away.  One  man  was  killed  and  Private  First  Class  Sudberry 
and  five  others  were  wounded.  With  shrapnel  in  both  legs  and  scarcely 
able  to  move,  the  aid  man  refused  to  be  evacuated.  He  moved  about 
the  area  administering  to  the  wounded  until  about  nightfall  when  his 
supplies  gave  out.  The  following  morning  more  medical  supplies 
arrived,  but  Private  First  Class  Sudberry's  legs  had  stiffened  and  he 
could  no  longer  walk.  He  persuaded  two  men  to  carry  him  around  the 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


beachhead  and  continued  to  administer  first  aid  and  plasma  until  addi- 
tional medics  were  brought  across  the  river. 

A  statement  made  by  a  German  officer,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Albrecht 
Roeschen,  subsequent  to  his  capture  in  Trier  is  quoted  in  part  below: 

The  defenses  were  far  from  completely  occupied  when  the  301st  and  302d 
Infantry  struck  across  the  Saar.  The  river  and  hills  were  blanketed  under  a 
thick  morning  fog  which  hung  on  the  river  till  nearly  1000.  Artillery  and 
mortar  concentrations  thundered  down  on  Serrig,  the  noise  echoing  around  the 
hills  many  times  magnified  by  the  fog.  Men  in  the  pillboxes  seemed  so  isolated, 
unable  to  see  anything  or  know  what  was  going  on.  Then  the  men  in  Serrig 
could  hear  the  splashing  of  paddles  and  voices  out  on  the  river  and  the  sputter 
of  an  outboard  engine.  Nervously  they  opened  up,  firing  wildly  at  the  sounds, 
hoping  they  could  hit  what  they  couldn't  see.  At  Taben  the  first  indication  of 
the  American  attack  were  men  banging  on  the  doors  of  the  pillboxes  and  the 
sight  of  a  long  file  of  men  struggling  up  the  hill  and  across  the  plateau  west 
of  Hocker  Hill.  No  one  could  have  expected  that  the  Americans  would  attack 
across  this  steep  country,  but  they  did.  By  afternoon  the  Germans  in  Serrig 
who  had  lost  some  houses  west  of  the  railroad  tracks  to  the  attack  of  the  3d 
Battalion,  301st  Infantry,  were  dazed  by  the  sight  of  Americans  attacking  down 
the  hill  from  the  east,  from  their  rear.  The  1st  Battalion,  302d,  swept  down 
into  Serrig,  seizing  part  of  the  town,  before  dark  slowed  down  the  operations. 
At  Ayl  the  defenders  were  amazed  at  mid-afternoon  to  see  the  376th  Infantry 
advance  across  the  open  meadows  toward  the  river  and  push  their  boats  out 
into  the  water  in  the  very  face  of  artillery  and  mortar  fire  adjusted  from  the 
hilltops  and  machine-gun  fire  from  the  pillboxes  along  the  base  of  the  hill. 
If  there  was  any  doubt  about  the  American  intention  to  cross  the  river,  it  was 
dissipated  by  dark.  They  were  coming  across  in  force.  The  main  crossing  site 
seemed  to  be  at  Serrig,  Taben,  and  Ayl.  At  Serrig  the  94th  Division  had  a 
foothold,  but  the  crossing  site  was  dominated  by  the  observation  on  the  hills 
around  the  town.  The  Ayl  crossing  had  been  repulsed,  but  the  crossing  at 
Taben,  deep  down  in  the  river  gorge,  couldn't  be  reached  by  flat-trajectory 
weapons.  The  best  that  could  be  done  was  to  try  to  interdict  and  harass  the 
road  leading  to  the  crossing. 

On  the  22d  some  reinforcements  were  becoming  available.  General  Pflieger 
had  been  given  command  of  the  elements  of  the  11th  Panzer  Division,  which 
had  not  yet  entrained  for  another  sector;  i.e.,  the  II  Battalion  of  the  111th 
Panazer  Grenadiers.  This  unit  he  pushed  into  an  attack  to  seize  and  hold  the 
critical  defile  between  Taben  and  Serrig  through  which  the  1st  Battalion,  302d, 
had  attacked. 


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Chapter  31:  THE  SECOND  DAY 


BY  0655  HOURS  on  the  morning  of  the  23d,  the  2d  Battalion, 
302d,  was  completely  across  the  Saar.  Movement  had  begun 
shortly  after  midnight  and  was  harassed  only  by  occasional  artil- 
lery fire  which  caused  little  damage.  As  elements  of  Company  E 
reached  the  far  side  of  the  river  and  scaled  the  retaining  wall,  they  ran 
into  a  twelve-man  German  patrol  which  had  slipped  through  the 
beachhead  defenses  in  the  darkness.  The  enemy  seemed  as  completely 
surprised  as  the  Americans  they  encountered,  and  a  small  fire  fight 
developed  which  resulted  in  a  speedy  surrender  by  the  Germans.  Fol- 
lowing this,  a  thorough  search  of  the  area  was  made  and  the  perime- 
ter strengthened.  Crossing  operations  were  soon  back  in  full  swing 
and  the  remainder  of  the  battalion  was  brought  across  without  further 
interruption. 

To  accomplish  the  battalion's  mission  of  clearing  the  river  road, 
it  was  necessary  to  eliminate  those  enemy  forces  em  placed  in  the 
rugged  cliffs  paralleling  the  road  and  river.  Major  Maixner  decided 
to  scale  these  heights  and  move  the  battalion  along  the  ridge  road. 
A  strong  patrol  was  to  be  left  at  the  base  of  the  escarpment,  to  move 
up  the  river  road  abreast  of  the  remainder  of  the  battalion  above.  The 
former  group  would  take  care  of  any  resistance  that  might  be  found 
from  the  base  of  the  cliffs  to  the  river's  edge. 

Such  a  patrol  started  downstream  toward  Serrig,  moving  forward 
slowly.  The  men  checked  the  numerous  pillboxes  embedded  beneath 
the  railroad  tracks  which  paralleled  the  river  road  at  a  slightly  higher 
level.  Most  of  these  were  empty  and  the  patrol  advanced  to  the  south 
side  of  the  hairpin  bend  opposite  Hamm.  Here,  late  in  the  afternoon, 
they  met  a  party  from  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  which  had  worked  its 
way  upstream  from  Serrig.  The  road  was  clear  of  enemy  and  the  only 
obstacle  to  the  passage  of  wheeled  vehicles  was  a  huge  crater  in  the 
vicinity  of  the  Hamm  bend.  Once  this  had  been  filled  by  the  engineers 
the  road  would  be  passable. 

Meanwhile,  the  rest  of  the  battalion  had  moved  up  Hocker  Hill  and 
along  a  trail  behind  it,  to  a  point  on  the  ridge  road  approaching  the 
vineyards  which  terraced  the  cliff  opposite  Hamm.  Suddenly,  Com- 
pany F,  which  was  leading  the  battalion,  was  hit  by  a  hail  of  machine- 
gun  fire  which  forced  the  advance  elements  to  fall  back  to  better  cover. 
Several  attempts  were  made  to  renew  the  advance  but  these  were 
stopped  cold.  With  each  successive  thrust,  the  fire  of  the  machine 
gunners  and  riflemen  of  the  II  Battalion  of  the  111th  Panzergrenadiers, 
emplaced  in  the  cliff  on  the  north  side  of  the  hairpin  turn,  increased 
in  intensity  and  accuracy. 

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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


Obviously,  the  battalion  had  hit  a  bottle-neck.  On  the  left  of  the 
road,  the  terrain  fell  away  in  an  almost  vertical  cliff  some  four  hundred 
feet  to  the  Saar  River.  To  the  right  was  another  almost  vertical  cliff 
which  rose  to  terminate  in  an  overhanging  ledge.  Looking  straight 
down  the  road  to  the  positions  now  held  by  the  enemy,  the  terrain  was 
completely  exposed  and  swept  by  fire  from  the  rocky  cliffs  on  the 
northern  side  of  the  bend.  There  was  no  room  for  maneuver.  At- 
tempts to  push  forward  along  the  rock  wall  on  the  right  of  the  road 
were  stalled  by  volleys  of  grenades  which  the  Germans  dropped  from 
above.  A  wire-mesh  fence  along  the  left  of  the  road  provided  the 
enemy  above  with  a  perfect  backboard  for  bouncing  grenades  under 
the  overhanging  ledge.  Fortunately,  the  Germans  seemed  to  possess 
only  concussion  grenades.  Potato-mashers,  employed  in  the  same  way, 
would  have  made  the  position  absolutely  untenable. 

In  short  order,  the  enemy  on  the  heights  learned  that  the  rest  of  the 
2d  Battalion  was  stretched  along  the  road  behind  Company  F.  As 
there  was  no  overhanging  ledge  topping  the  cliff  above  the  other  com- 
panies, the  Germans  employed  their  mortars.  Enemy  shells  bursting 
up  and  down  the  road  tightened  the  bottleneck.  Frantically  the  troops 
attempted  to  dig  in  among  the  rocks.  One  of  the  HMGs  of  Company 
H  went  into  action  on  a  small  ledge  to  the  left  of  the  road  and  the 
gunner  sprayed  the  cliff  on  the  far  side  of  the  hairpin  bend  in  an 
effort  to  neutralize  some  of  the  fire  being  directed  against  the  battalion. 
Time  and  again  enemy  mortar  barrages  were  thrown  over  the  hill  in 
an  effort  to  knock  out  this  weapon.  The  gun  remained  in  action,  but 
throughout  the  day  the  battalion  was  unable  to  advance.  With  the 
coming  of  darkness,  patrols  were  sent  forward  to  attempt  to  break 
the  stalemate.  All  were  unsuccessful.  Unknown  to  Major  Maixner 
and  his  staff,  German  troops  had  been  pouring  into  this  area  for  the 
past  twenty-four  hours. 

In  Serrig  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  had  cleared  the  area  betweenthe 
railroad  and  the  river,  after  fighting  most  of  the  night.  Patrols  were 
then  sent  to  contact  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  which  held  most  of  the 
town.  The  first  302d  man  encountered  was  Chaplain  Harrison,  and 
soon  thereafter,  Lieutenant  Colonel  McNulty  and  Major  Stanion  were 
comparing  notes  and  making  plans  for  the  continuation  of  the  assault. 
House  by  house,  the  town  was  searched  methodically  and  the  enemy 
snipers  eliminated.  Constant  artillery  and  mortar  fire  fell  on  the  two 
battalions,  but  by  1820  hours  the  town  was  cleared.  Both  battalions 
then  assumed  defensive  positions  for  the  night. 


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THE  SECOND  DAY 


303 


At  the  Staadt  crossing,  the  operation  was  progressing  not  too  favor- 
ably. The  previous  night  the  site  had  been  cleared  of  enemy  small- 
arms  fire,  but  artillery  fire  increased  in  intensity  throughout  the  day 
until  it  became  more  deadly  than  the  direct  fire  had  been.  Company 
C  of  the  319th  Engineers  replaced  Company  A  and  stretched  a  rope 
across  the  river  to  facilitate  ferrying.  As  the  first  boatload  of  men 
attempted  to  haul  their  craft  to  the  far  shore  by  means  of  this  rope, 
it  parted.  The  back-breaking  job  of  paddling  across  the  stream  was 
resumed. 

In  an  attempt  to  cross  the  2d  Battalion  before  daylight,  Colonel 
Hagerty  had  issued  orders  to  revert  to  the  use  of  the  storm  boats  and 
take  the  resulting  casualties.  Mortor  boats  moved  the  first  two  pla- 
toons of  Company  G  to  the  far  shore  before  the  Germans  were  able 
to  react;  but,  soon  mortar  and  artillery  fire  was  pouring  into  the  area. 
By  comparison,  the  concentrations  of  the  previous  day  seem  light. 
Throughout  the  latter  hours  of  darkness  and  the  early  morning,  the 
2d  Battalion  and  the  engineers  took  heavy  losses. 

Shortly  after  daylight  crossing  operations  had  all  but  reached  a 
standstill  and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Dohs  came  forward  personally  to 
take  charge.  As  the  boats  were  about  to  push  into  the  stream  again,  a 
tremendous  concentration  hit  the  launching  site.  Casualties  were  ex- 
tremely heavy.  The  battalion  commander  was  killed  instantly  by  an 
almost  direct  hit  from  one  of  the  enemy  shells.  Captain  Sinclair  of 
Company  F,  who  was  forward  on  reconnaissance,  was  hit  and  mortally 
wounded.  Just  before  he  died,  he  remarked  calmly:  "It  took  a  big 
one  to  get  me."  Captain  Flanagan,  battalion  S-3,  was  knocked  out  by 
concussion  and  had  to  be  evacuated.  On  the  beach,  many  of  the  bat- 
talion and  the  engineers  lay  wounded,  dead  and  dying.  Not  one  of 
the  boats  had  escaped  the  weight  of  the  murderous  barrage,  and  more 
assault  craft  had  to  be  obtained  before  there  could  be  any  continuation 
of  the  operation. 

Undoubtedly,  one  of  the  greatest  problems  of  the  engineers  during 
this  period  was  the  supply  of  assault  boats.  The  enemy  shot  up  boats 
almost  as  quickly  as  they  were  brought  forward.  Better  than  two 
hundred  were  used  during  the  entire  operation  and  by  the  time  the 
infantry  elements  were  across  the  Saar,  there  were  only  twenty-seven 
craft  still  in  operation. 

Major  George  W.  Brumley,  regimental  S-3,  was  given  command 
of  the  2d  Battalion  following  the  loss  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Dohs. 
He  arrived  in  Staadt  at  1100  hours  and  by  that  time  a  limited  number 
of  additional  assault  boats  had  been  obtained.  Fifty  minutes  later,  the 


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\d  Battalion  on  the  far  side,  When  tins  craft  mad*'  H>e  round  trip 
wiily,  '.'Major  Brumley  decided  to  ..attempt  eroding  the  remainder  of 


*  ,   >      .    Original  fforfV     •  . 
UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


.... 


The  CO  of  the  30Ut  Infantry  inspecti  som*  of  the  fifty  thousand  hoUl*i  t>?  chGhipogtr*  fn  *h* 
vettef  of  his  CP  at  Serrio.  V^onunately^  mpfit  of  liW  srai  tfifl  $h**K 

.  '  .   ,  '    "       '  L    -         •      \    "    '  '7  '_      "    '     7~.:  7 


f  I  boxes  were  ivUfr3  to  owram  #*>ck&  ot 
\he  large,  ttis.fte  on  the  hill  in  Sernt|  *a>  van 


ix-e-o  eva-.tutit-J  .itid  supplie*  w.;c  rr.ovmg;  aver  in  -a  srhidy  stream. 


Shortly  HK-f<*fter,  tftenj**  ut;re  mac!e  {n  string  Va.wic*  line /across 
H  g£|  This  line  $gj  I  |g§  gj  ft  fi*l  ,r,e  ,n  lorry-,**  hour, 
there  whs  tdephune  cjbfqmun rcatt&i?  bemecn  the  3d -Jiattalion  an-d 


After  d&jffc  this  |&fie  jijghr  a  platoon  ot  Company  K  jiioveu  from 


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306 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


observed  in  the  vicinity  of  this  aperture.  Soon  the  figures  were  posi- 
tively identified  as  German  soldiers.  Deduction  was  that  the  rear  en- 
trance to  a  pillbox  had  been  discovered.  The  men  of  the  platoon 
crawled  down  a  ditch  to  a  sand  pit  on  the  side  of  the  road  opposite 
this  opening.  Here  the  platoon  assembled  while  a  bazooka  team  went 
into  position  to  cover  their  further  advance.  In  the  attack  which  fol- 
lowed, the  enemy  was  completely  surprised  and  quickly  surrendered. 
Fifty-four  enlisted  men  and  three  officers  were  taken  from  the  posi- 
tion, which  proved  to  be  the  German  artillery  fire-direction  center  for 
the  Serrig  area. 

Because  of  the  difficulties  which  the  301st  Infantry  had  experienced 
from  the  very  outset  at  Staadt  and  the  comparative  ease  with  which 
the  302d  was  crossing  at  Taben,  at  0900  hours  on  the  morning  of  the 
23d,  Colonel  Hagerty  had  recommended  that  his  1st  Battalion  be 
attached  to  Colonel  Johnson's  command.  This  was  approved.  Al- 
though the  enemy  fire  in  the  vicinity  of  the  302d's  crossing  increased 
with  the  coming  of  daylight  most  of  the  artillery  fire  was  directed 
against  the  town  of  Taben  and  a  point  on  the  river  bank  several  hun- 
dred yards  from  where  the  crossing  was  being  made.  For  the  most 
part,  the  heights  of  Hocker  Hill  protected  Colonel  Johnson's  crossing 
from  enemy  fire. 

Major  Hodges,  commanding  the  1st  Battalion,  301st,  reported  to 
the  302d  CP  in  Taben  and  was  instructed  to  cross  as  soon  as  possible. 
On  gaining  the  far  shore,  he  was  to  report  to  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Gaddis,  the  regimental  executive  officer,  for  definite  orders.  Instruc- 
tions were  so  phrased  because  it  was  estimated  it  would  take  at  least 
six  hours  to  move  the  battalion  to  Taben  and  complete  crossing.  By 
this  time,  it  would  be  impossible  to  say  what  the  situation  on  the  east 
shore  might  be,  and  the  executive  officer  of  the  302d,  who  was  on  the 
spot,  would  be  better  able  to  issue  specific  orders  for  the  employment 
of  the  attached  unit. 

While  Major  McBride,  executive  officer  of  the  1st  Battalion,  301st, 
brought  the  command  forward  from  Trassem  by  motor,  Major  Hodges 
crossed  the  Saar  to  contact  Lieutenant  Colonel  Gaddis.  The  order  of 
crossing  was  indicated  as:  Companies  B,  A  and  C,  with  a  heavy- 
machine-gun  platoon  attached  to  the  two  leading  companies.  These 
units  detrucked  west  of  Taben  and  proceeded  to  the  crossing  over  a 
concealed  route.  Company  A  missed  the  road  guide  in  town  and,  on 
the  sharp  bend  leading  down  to  the  river,  was  halted  by  enemy  ma- 
chine-gun fire  from  the  high  ground  above  Saarhausen.  Lieutenant 


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307 


Wolf,  who  was  leading  the  column,  sent  Staff  Sergeant  John  T.  Szy- 
manski  and  Technician  Fifth  Grade  John  Lewis  to  the  graveyard  south 
of  the  road  in  an  attempt  to  neutralize  the  enemy  fire.  However,  the 
German  position  was  too  cleverly  concealed  for  the  two  men  to  pick 
up  its  location.  About  this  time,  Lieutenant  Wolf  was  wounded  by 
the  explosion  of  an  88,  fired  against  an  ambulance  coming  up  from 
the  river.  Both  this  ambulance  and  an  engineer  truck  which  was  fol- 
lowing were  then  brought  under  fire  by  the  German  machine  gun  and 
the  driver  of  the  truck  wounded.  Following  this,  the  company  pulled 
back  into  Taben  from  whence  it  proceeded  to  the  river  over  the  trail 
used  by  the  rest  of  the  battalion. 

At  the  river,  Major  McBride  consulted  with  Major  Hoffman  of  the 
engineers  who  was  using  all  available  assault  boats  for  the  construction 
of  a  footbridge.  To  hasten  this  operation,  Company  B  helped  the 
engineers  move  the  boats  into  position.  At  1730  hours  work  was 
completed  and  the  companies  started  across.  The  ammunition  bearers 
of  the  mortar  platoon  were  used  to  carry  extra  machine-gun  ammuni- 
tion and  remained  with  the  HMGs  to  act  as  a  security  force. 

Meanwhile,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Gaddis  had  decided  to  relieve  the 
3d  Battalion,  302d,  holding  the  defenses  of  Hocker  Hill,  with  the  in- 
coming battalion  after  dark  that  night.  In  the  interval,  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Cloudt's  men  were  to  attack  north  reducing  a  series  of  pill- 
boxes included  in  the  regimental  objective.  As  planned,  the  relief  by 
Major  Hodges  troops  was  completed  on  the  night  of  the  23d.  Coming 
down  from  Hocker  Hill,  the  3d  Battalion,  302d  moved  north  toward 
Serrig  via  the  river  road. 

The  same  evening  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion  was  relieved  of  its  patrol 
mission  along  the  west  bank  of  the  Saar  and  ordered  across  the  river 
at  1800  hours.  Once  across,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Sullivan  was  to  move 
forward  and  establish  a  roadblock  across  the  Saarbtfrg-Irsch-Zerf 
road.  Without  incident  the  Rangers  crossed  and  climbed  Hocker  Hill. 
From  here  they  headed  off  into  the  night  on  a  ten-degree  azimuth 
to  accomplish  their  mission,  deep  in  enemy-held  territory.  To  replace 
this  battalion  on  the  west  bank  of  the  Saar,  the  3d  Battalion  of  the 
101st  Infantry  Regiment,  26th  Infantry  Division,  was  attached  to  the 
94th. 

On  the  morning  of  the  23d  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop  was 
assigned  the  mission  of  clearing  Krutweiler  on  the  west  side  of  the 
river.  Company  B  of  the  778th  Tank  Battalion  and  a  platoon  of  Com- 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


pany  B  of  the  81st  Chemical  Mortar  Battalion  were  attached  for  the 
operation.  To  secure  the  town,  Captain  Ashton  decided  to  use  his  1st 
and  3d  Platoons  while  the  remaining  platoon  of  the  troop  was  to 
occupy  it  once  it  had  been  captured.  At  1600  hours  the  assault  units 
moved  to  the  attack,  following  a  preparation  by  the  4.2-inch  chemical 
mortars.  Forty-five  minutes  later,  after  passing  through  an  antiperson- 
nel minefield,  the  troops  took  the  town  with  little  difficulty.  During 
the  operation  a  good  deal  of  enemy  fire  was  placed  on  Krutweiler 
from  German  positions  across  the  Saar. 

Throughout  the  day,  the  artillery  experienced  extreme  difficulty  in 
executing  counterbattery  fire.  Repeatedly,  infantry  elements  would 
report  incoming  mail  and  request  that  the  enemy  guns  be  neutralized 
without  supplying  the  artillerymen  with  accurate  fixes  on  the  German 
batteries.  As  the  day  wore  on,  liaison  planes  spotted  more  and  more 
of  the  enemy  gun  locations  and  the  artillery  brought  its  weight  to 
bear.  Enemy  rocket  batteries,  which  were  highly  mobile,  caused  a 
good  deal  of  trouble.  They  moved  frequently,  making  it  difficult  for 
the  Division  Artillery  to  catch  them  with  their  trails  down. 


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Chapter  52:  THE  THIRD  DAY 


THE  2d  BATTALION,  301st,  which  had  been  withdrawn  from 
the  Staadt  crossing  and  designated  Division  reserve  on  the  after- 
noon of  the  23d,  began  movement  to  the  Taben  crossing  at  0300 
hours  the  following  day.  The  remnants  of  Companies  F  and  G  were 
joined  and  placed  under  the  command  of  Captain  Otto  P.  Steinen. 
For  the  rest  of  the  operation,  they  were  referred  to  as  Captain  Steinen's 
Company.  This  composite  unit,  numbering  in  all  about  seventy  men, 
led  the  way  to  the  river,  followed  by  Company  E  which  was  reduced 
to  approximately  fifty  effectives.  Prior  to  the  crossing,  the  HMG 
platoons  of  Company  H  were  attached  to  the  two  rifle  companies. 
Moving  to  the  bridge  site,  some  of  the  men  of  this  battalion  passed 
out  from  sheer  exhaustion  and  had  to  be  evacuated;  in  Rodt,  the 
medics  of  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion  insisted  that  Captain  Stokstad, 
commanding  Company  E,  be  left  in  their  care  as  he  was  on  the  point 
of  collapse.  This  was  done  and  Lieutenant  Edmund  G.  Reuter  assumed 
command. 

At  0400  hours  Captain  Steinen's  Company  crossed,  followed  by 
Major  Brumley,  the  command  group  of  the  battalion,  and  Company  E. 
Lieutenant  Reuter  was  without  maps  and  had  no  definite  idea  of  the 
company's  mission  except  that  it  was  to  cross  the  Saar.  At  the  bridge, 
he  was  informed  by  the  engineers  that  the  leading  element  of  the  bat- 
talion had  crossed  just  in  front  of  him.  Company  E  followed  and 
climbed  Hocker  Hill. 

Initially  Captain  Steinen's  Company  moved  to  the  high  ground  on 
the  right  of  the  1st  Battalion,  301st.  As  the  company  came  into  the 
open,  the  platoon  commanded  by  Staff  Sergeant  Carl  W.  Hager,  which 
numbered  about  twelve  men,  was  engaged  by  several  enemy  machine 
guns.  A  firing  line  was  established  and  Sergeant  Hager  prepared  to 
attack.  Before  this  assault  could  be  executed,  the  acting  platoon  leader 
was  knocked  unconscious  by  concussion  and  Sergeant  James  C.  Hul- 
lender  took  command.  About  this  time,  Captain  Steinen  ordered  a 
withdrawal  as  the  under-strength  company  had  encountered  an  enemy 
strongpoint.  Farther  along  the  line,  a  patrol  led  by  Lieutenant  Kenneth 
E.  Kearns  moved  against  a  German  88  position  but  was  forced  to 
withdraw  by  the  fire  of  an  enemy  machine  gun  protecting  the  artillery 
emplacement.  Shortly  thereafter  the  356th  Field  Artillery  deluged  this 
position. 

While  Captain  Steinen's  Company  was  engaged  to  the  right  of 
Hocker  Hill,  Company  E  was  preparing  to  come  up  on  his  left.  From 
the  company  CP,  a  patrol  under  Lieutenant  Reuter  worked  south  to 
study  the  terrain  and  determine  the  best  location  for  a  defensive  posi- 

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311 


tion.  While  on  this  mission,  a  patrol  from  Battalion  Headquarters 
Company,  led  by  Staff  Sergeant  John  H.  Kinnan,  was  met.  As  the 
patrol  leaders  discussed  the  situation  an  enemy  sniper  opened  fire. 
Both  groups  moved  against  the  sniper.  As  they  neared  his  position, 
several  German  riflemen  engaged  them  and  it  soon  became  clearly 
apparent  that  they  had  encountered  an  enemy  strongpoint.  The  patrols 
pulled  back  and  a  complete  report  of  the  situation  was  made  to  Major 
Brumley.  Since  Company  E  now  numbered  only  thirty-eight  men,  the 
battalion  commander  directed  that  the  twenty-two  men  of  the  battalion 
Antitank  Platoon  be  armed  as  riflemen  and  attached  to  the  unit.  When 
this  was  done,  Staff  Sergeant  George  F.  Fell  took  command  of  the 
reinforcements.  After  a  short  artillery  concentration,  called  by  Lieu- 
tenant Robert  E.  Trinkline,  the  company  assaulted  the  enemy  strong- 
point  at  1430  hours  taking  the  position  along  with  twenty-five  pris- 
oners. These  PWs  were  found  to  be  in  a  dazed  condition  from  con- 
tinual pounding  by  the  American  artillery.  This  accounted  for  the 
ease  with  which  their  seemingly  impregnable  position  was  taken. 
Following  this,  Company  E  established  a  defensive  line  and  tied  in 
with  Captain  Steinen's  men. 

On  the  24th  of  February  the  1258th  Engineer  Combat  Battalion  was 
attached  to  the  94th,  relieving  the  3d  Battalion,  101st  Infantry  which 
reverted  to  corps  control.  At  1100  hours  the  same  day,  several  other 
changes  were  made  within  the  Division.  As  dictated  by  the  existing 
tactical  situation,  several  of  the  infantry  battalions  were  temporarily 
detached  from  their  parent  organizations  and  assigned  to  the  other 
regiment  in  the  bridgehead.  Thus,  the  301st  Infantry  consisted  of  its 
own  3d  Battalion  plus  the  1st  and  3d  Battalions  of  the  302d,  while 
Colonel  Johnson's  command  was  composed  of  the  2d  Battalion,  302d, 
and  the  1st  and  2d  Battalions  of  Colonel  Hagerty's  regiment.  The 
latter  unit  was  less  the  two  platoons  of  Company  G  which  had  crossed 
at  Staadt  and  were  attached  to  the  3d  Battalion,  301st. 

This  same  morning  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  launched  the  first  coor- 
dinated attack  since  the  crossing  of  the  Saar.  Object  of  the  assault 
was  to  seize  the  high  ground  north  of  Serrig  overlooking  the  town. 
On  the  battalion  right,  Company  K  was  delayed  by  machine-gun  fire 
until  Company  I  outflanked  the  enemy  positions.  Both  companies  were 
then  able  to  continue  their  advance.  On  the  extreme  left,  the  operation 
did  not  fare  as  well.  Company  L,  with  two  platoons  of  Company  G 
attached,  was  responsible  for  the  west  of  the  battalion  zone.  While 
the  Company  G  group  was  moving  north  between  the  river  and  the 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


railroad  tracks,  Company  L  took  the  frontage  from  the  railroad  to  the 
road  leading  through  the  woods  into  Beurig.  All  efforts  of  the  two 
platoons  of  Company  G  to  advance  in  the  face  of  the  numerous  enemy 
pillboxes  were  stopped  cold.  To  their  right,  Company  L  met  with 
better  success  and  soon  outflanked  these  positions.  Assault  groups  from 
the  latter  company  then  dashed  across  the  railroad  tracks  in  rear  of 
the  first  box.  After  a  short  tussle  the  men  of  Company  L  took  the 
bunker.  Following  this,  they  advanced  north  along  the  tracks  against 
a  second  pillbox.  Suddenly,  there  was  machine-gun  fire  from  the  rear 
and  Lieutenant  Glenn  H.  Gass  fell  mortally  wounded.  No  guard  had 
been  left  on  the  captured  bunker  and  German  troops  had  hastily 
reoccupied  it.  The  Americans  withdrew  across  the  railroad  tracks, 
re-formed,  and  again  assaulted  the  first  box.  It  was  reduced  a  second 
time  and  two  men  were  left  to  man  the  position  as  the  rest  of  the 
group  moved  forward.  In  short  order  the  second  box  was  taken. 

Throughout  the  rest  of  the  day  the  battalion  advanced  steadily. 
Progress  was  slow  on  the  left  flank  in  the  fortified  area  through  which 
Company  L  and  the  platoons  of  Company  G  were  fighting  their  way. 
Here  pillboxes  were  cleared  one  after  the  other  and  by  late  in  the 
afternoon  the  high  ground  north  of  Serrig  was  occupied.  The  battalion 
command  post  was  set  up  in  Saarstein  Castle  and  a  defensive  line 
established. 

At  Staadt  ferrying  operations  progressed  favorably  throughout  the 
night  of  the  23d,  but  shortly  after  daylight  enemy  artillery  again  began 
to  land  on  the  crossing  site.  A  direct  hit  was  made  on  a  raft  which 
was  ferrying  a  jeep,  57mm  gun  and  a  Weasel  across  the  river.  Before 
it  sank  the  raft  was  brought  to  shore  and  the  gun  and  vehicles  landed. 
A  second  raft  was  then  constructed.  As  this  craft  made  its  initial 
trip  across  the  river,  another  artillery  concentration  crashed  on  the 
ferry  site.  Shortly  thereafter  movement  was  noticed  on  the  cliff  above 
the  crossing.  A  .50-caliber  machine  gun  was  put  into  action  and  its 
crew  ordered  to  rake  the  cliff  at  periodic  intervals.  Several  hours  later 
three  Germans  who  had  been  manning  a  radio  surrendered.  They 
admitted  that  they  had  been  in  a  concealed  position  on  the  cliffs,  direct- 
ing a  portion  of  the  enemy  artillery  fire  which  had  fallen  on  the 
crossing  site  since  the  morning  of  the  22d. 

About  noon  of  the  24th  Colonel  Hagerty  arrived  at  Staadt  and  was 
ferried  across  the  Saar.  The  CO  of  the  301st  was  now  in  command  of 
all  troops  in  the  Serrig  area.  While  his  forward  command  post  was 
being  set  up  in  town,  the  colonel  contacted  the  various  battalion 
commanders  to  gain  first-hand  information  on  the  situation. 


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313 


Following  the  relief  of  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  on  the  night  of  the 
23d  by  the  1st  Battalion,  301st,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt  had  hoped 
to  use  the  ridge  road  into  Serrig.  However,  the  2d  Battalion,  302d 
had  not  yet  been  able  to  force  the  bottleneck  at  the  Hamm  bend.  Lieu- 
tenant Colonel  Cloudt  therefore  decided  to  attempt  reaching  Serrig  by 
way  of  the  river  road.  This  meant  a  passage  below  the  2d  Battalion, 
302d,  and  the  Germans  who  were  holding  up  the  advance  of  Major 
Maixner's  men  at  the  hairpin  turn.  In  broad  daylight,  the  entire  3d 
Battalion  marched  around  the  Hamm  bend  on  the  river  road  without 
having  a  single  shot  fired  at  it  from  the  cliffs  overhead.  At  1130  hours 
the  battalion  arrived  in  Serrig  and  shortly  thereafter  the  battalion  com- 
mander made  contact  with  Colonel  Hagerty  to  whom  his  unit  was  then 
attached. 

To  this  point,  corps  had  been  able  to  supply  the  Division  only  one 
M2  treadway  bridge  and  barely  enough  floats  to  span  the  river.  It  had 
been  planned  originally  to  put  this  first  vehicular  bridge  at  Staadt,  but 
due  to  the  amount  of  enemy  fire  directed  against  this  location,  the 
Division  Commander  directed  the  engineers  to  begin  construction  at 
Taben.  While  the  latter  location  was  far  from  favorable,  the  heights 
of  Hocker  Hill  partially  protected  this  crossing  from  the  fire  of  the 
German  artillery.  Construction  was  accomplished  by  the  135th  Combat 
Engineers  assisted  by  Company  A  of  the  319th.  Operations  began  at 
0230  hours  on  the  24th  and  were  not  completed  until  1350  hours  the 
same  day.  Construction  difficulties  offered  by  the  nature  of  the  site  and 
the  enemy  situation  alone  were  responsible  for  the  excessive  time  con- 
sumed in  erecting  the  structure.  The  Brockway  trucks  could  move  to 
the  crossing  only  one  at  a  time  and  had  to  run  a  200-yard  gantlet  of 
long-range  German  machine-gun  fire  to  reach  the  river.  Many  of  these 
vehicles  arrived  at  the  banks  of  the  Saar  peppered  with  holes,  but 
fortunately  none  of  the  drivers  was  hit  during  the  operation  and  not 
a  single  vehicle  stalled  to  block  the  narrow  road.  On  the  east  shore, 
the  engineers  had  to  breach  the  twelve-foot  retaining  wall  along  the 
river  with  explosives.  Moreover,  a  great  deal  of  work  on  the  approach 
to  the  far  bank  was  necessary.  This  was  begun  by  hand  and  once  the 
bridge  was  completed,  finished  by  an  angledozer.  An  armored  cater- 
pillar was  sent  over  the  treadway  bridge  soon  after  its  construction, 
and  along  the  river  road  to  fill  the  crater  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Hamm 
bend.  As  the  cat  worked  on  the  huge  hole,  sniper  fire  ricocheted  in 
all  directions  from  the  steel-plated  sides  of  the  vehicle. 

The  first  tank  to  cross  this  bridge  settled  one  of  the  inshore  pontons 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


on  some  sharp  rocks  on  the  river  bed.  This  punctured  the  ponton  and 
repairs  were  necessary  before  any  further  traffic  could  cross.  To  pro- 
vide additional  flotation,  the  west  approach  was  heightened  and  the 
remainder  of  the  778th  column  crossed.  With  the  passage  of  the  tanks, 
enemy  artillery  fire  increased,  continuing  into  the  night.  Many  times 
pontons  were  punctured,  but  fortunately  the  bridge  received  no  direct 
hits.  Engineers  maintaining  the  structure  repaired  damaged  floats  im- 
mediately and  there  was  no  interruption  to  the  flow  of  traffic. 

At  1800  hours  the  armored  column  arrived  in  Serrig  where  it  was 
met  by  the  Division  Commander.  Following  this,  the  3d  Battalion, 
302d,  pushed  out  to  the  high  ground  northeast  of  town.  With  little 
difficulty,  it  cleared  the  ridge  in  its  zone  until  the  troops  hit  the  last 
pillbox.  There  the  ridge  top  was  perfectly  flat  and  this  box  had  its 
automatic  weapons  sited  for  grazing  fire.  After  several  attempts  had 
been  repulsed,  a  tank  was  brought  into  position.  It  was  now  only  a 
short  while  before  daylight  and,  under  the  direct  support  of  the  armor, 
the  infantry  closed  on  the  position  and  reduced  it. 

This  same  night,  Staff  Sergeant  James  A.  Graham  led  twenty  infan- 
trymen of  Company  B  and  four  tanks  to  the  hill  east  of  Serrig  where 
the  armor  assumed  positions.  To  lend  local  security,  the  infantry 
remained  with  the  tanks.  It  was  hoped  this  movement  might  assist  the 
2d  Battalion,  302d,  to  round  the  hairpin  turn  on  the  ridge  road  by 
putting  armor  in  rear  of  the  Germans  defending  the  cliffs.  At  the 
same  time  Company  A  left  Serrig  and  assumed  positions  on  the  left 
of  Company  C.  A  composite  detail  from  Companies  B  and  C  con- 
tinued to  occupy  Chateau  Wursberg,  southeast  of  Serrig  close  to  the 
river. 

While  the  1st  and  3d  Battalions,  302d,  were  in  process  of  securing 
the  high  ground  northeast,  east  and  southeast  of  town,  the  3d  Battal- 
ion, 301st,  which  had  moved  north  of  Serrig  during  the  day,  was 
ordered  to  press  forward  another  one  thousand  yards  to  the  next  stream 
line.  Toward  this  end  Companies  I  and  K  organized  a  group  of  patrols 
to  sweep  through  the  woods.  A  roadblock  was  also  placed  on  the  road 
leading  through  the  woods  into  Beurig,  at  the  point  where  it  crossed 
the  east-west  stream.  Company  L  and  the  two  platoons  of  Company 
G  were  to  continue  their  task  of  clearing  the  pillboxes  imbedded 
beneath  the  railroad  tracks  at  the  base  of  the  cliff.  To  get  at  these 
boxes,  the  company  climbed  the  hill  and  descended  upon  the  enemy 
positions  from  above  and  to  their  rear.  It  was  slow  work,  but  the  only 
reasonable  method  of  tackling  the  problem.   During  the  night  the 


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1 


assault  tfc&n^  exhausted  the  supplies  of  Wasting  caps  which  were  used 
■to  drtoniitc  charges  -  with  whkh  pilibox  doora»  4od  embrasures  were 


pcovmg  mgmy  successful. 

On  the  rootnmg  of  the  24th,  the  2d  Batulion,  302<L  preyed  to 
launch .  3f  urther  at r a'ck  to  break  the  bottleneck  on  (he  -ridge  to.a«L  Cox\~ 
pany  vvhiclr  bad  been  worked  ta  the  heigh ts  above  the  rmd. 
to  attack  diiwi  the  fingetdfke  riugc  pomhng  to^id.Ser  ng  ^hile  < 


was 

?g  winie  Com- 
pany F  .aj/ain  pushed  down  the  road  along  the  teat  of.  the  rid 
>*ttKk  ^  tht  tum  ot  Company  G  was  engaged  by 


.machine -gun.  ftte  f  torn  across  the  dtaV   Thi^  prevented  further  t&:&x - 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


As  they  moved  to  Serrig  by  the  river  road  during  the  afternoon,  the 
tanks  that  crossed  at  Taben  were  observed  by  the  2d  Battalion.  Plans 
were  then  laid  for  a  night  attack  to  force  the  bottleneck.  It  was  in 
conjunction  with  this  operation  that  the  four  tanks  supported  by  an 
infantry  detail  moved  out  of  Serrig  during  the  night.  In  the  moonlight, 
the  battalion  advanced  once  again  and  found  itself  able  to  move  for- 
ward with  surprising  ease.  Most  of  the  enemy  had  withdrawn  and  the 
battalion  pushed  around  the  hairpin  against  only  slight  resistance.  A 
short  distance  farther,  troops  of  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  were  encoun- 
tered. Major  Maixner's  battalion  then  closed  in  the  area  of  the  1st 
Battalion.  It  was  then  that  Company  G  discovered  its  2d  Platoon  was 
missing.  This  group  had  been  protecting  the  flank  of  the  battalion 
when  the  platoon  leader  and  platoon  sergeant  became  casualties.  The 
rest  of  the  platoon,  not  knowing  the  battalion  was  moving  forward, 
remained  on  their  defensive  position.  On  the  following  morning  Ger- 
man forces  located  the  isolated  platoon  and  drove  it  from  position. 
Also  the  enemy  retook  the  pillbox  at  the  Y-shaped  junction  where  the 
road  from  Serrig  split  at  the  Hamm  bend.  This  severed  the  ridge  road. 
To  rejoin  the  battalion,  the  2d  Platoon  descended  to  the  river  road  and 
proceeded  to  Serrig  via  that  route. 

Prior  to  dawn  a  thirty-man  patrol  from  Company  A,  301st,  cleaned 
out  this  troublesome  pillbox,  killing  seven  Germans  and  taking  twenty- 
three  prisoners  before  being  driven  back  by  a  strong  hostile  counter- 
attack. 


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Chapter  33:  THE  FOURTH  AND  FIFTH  DAYS 


BEFORE  DAWN  of  February  25,  Company  B,  301st,  was  in- 
structed to  maintain  contact  between  the  1st  Battalion,  301st, 
on  Hocker  Hill  and  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  in  position  east  of 
Serrig.  Between  the  two  units  were  three  thousand  yards  of  rugged 
terrain.  Lieutenant  Cancilla  put  his  company  on  the  ridge  road  and 
started  over  the  route  traversed  by  Major  Maixner's  men.  The  3d 
Platoon  of  the  company  was  in  the  lead;  as  it  reached  the  road  and 
trail  junction,  in  the  vicinity  of  the  camouflaged  pillbox,  at  the  Hamm 
bend,  which  had  caused  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  so  much  trouble, 
enemy  machine-gun  fire  began  to  rake  the  area. 

Lieutenant  Richard  E.  Eckstrom,  the  platoon  leader,  ordered  his 
men  to  positions  in  and  around  the  pillbox  until  some  method  could 
be  devised  for  eliminating  the  enemy  or  flanking  his  position.  To  the 
left  of  the  area  were  the  vertical  cliffs  that  fell  away  to  the  Saar  far 
below.  To  the  front  were  occupied  enemy  positions.  After  a  hasty 
reconnaissance,  Lieutenant  Eckstrom  returned  to  the  pillbox  just  as  it 
was  grenaded  by  two  Germans.  Several  of  the  platoon  were  injured 
and  it  was  decided  to  evacuate  the  box. 

Later,  thinking  the  pillbox  had  been  reoccupied  by  the  enemy,  a  tank 
of  the  778th  Tank  Battalion  pulled  up  and  fired  directly  into  the  posi- 
tion. Unknown  to  the  tankers,  two  men  of  Company  B  and  three  men 
from  the  301st  Field  Artillery  Battalion  were  still  inside. 

Five  rounds  were  fired  against  the  position  and  following  this  the 
tankers  brought  forward  a  satchel  charge  to  blow  the  door  of  the  em- 
placement. From  within,  a  vision  slit  popped  open  and  the  tankers 
were  informed  in  no  uncertain  terms  that  the  inhabitants  were  Ameri- 
can. Luckily,  the  pillbox  had  withstood  the  assault  of  the  tank's  gun; 
none  of  the  men  was  hurt. 

That  afternoon  Lieutenant  Eckstrom  and  Technical  Sergeant  Robert 
O'Hara  planned  a  coordinated  attack  using  both  their  platoons.  Lieu- 
tenant Paul  Boland  of  the  301st  Field  Artillery  arranged  a  preparatory 
concentration  and  following  this,  the  attack  swept  the  objective.  Hav- 
ing lost  this  position,  the  enemy  lashed  out  savagely  with  mortar,  sniper 
and  machine-gun  fire.  At  about  this  time  orders  were  received  for  the 
platoons  to  rejoin  the  company  on  Hocker  Hill. 

Immediately  upon  completion  of  the  treadway  bridge  at  Taben, 
plans  were  made  for  a  similar  construction  at  Staadt  since  another  M2 
bridge  had  become  available  and  there  was  little  enemy  fire  then  fall- 
ing in  that  area.  In  addition,  the  ground  dominating  the  Staadt  crossing 
site  was  entirely  in  American  hands  and  the  continued  expansion  of  the 


317 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


318 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


bridgehead  had  forced  the  displacement  of  the  German  batteries  which 
had  formerly  shelled  the  area.  The  construction  mission  was  assigned 
to  Company  A  of  the  319th  Engineers,  which  began  work  at  0800 
hours  on  the  25th.  By  1515  hours  the  same  day  this  second  bridge  was 


At  1030  hours  on  the  morning  of  the  25th,  XX  Corps  informed 
the  Division  Commander  that  the  94th  was  to  attack  north  from  its 
bridgehead.  At  the  same  time,  the  376th  Infantry,  which  was  still 
attached  to  the  10th  Armored  Division  and  had  crossed  at  Ayl,  was 
to  attack  south  to  link  the  two  bridgeheads.  In  addition  the  94th  was 
to  clear  the  road  from  the  Taben  site  to  Beurig  and  uncover  the  Saar- 
burg-Irsch  road  so  that  armor  could  be  committed  to  the  east.  The 
10th  Armored  had  been  unable  to  put  a  bridge  over  the  Saar  at  its 
crossing  site;  as  a  result,  its  tanks  were  to  move  south  and  cross  on  the 
bridges  in  General  Malony's  zone. 

Traffic  control  had  proved  a  major  problem  at  the  Taben  bridge 
during  the  early  phases  of  the  crossing.  To  prevent  the  recurrence  of 
such  a  situation,  the  Division  staff  produced  a  detailed  traffic-control 
plan  which  was  to  be  supervised  rigidly  by  the  military  police.  This 
plan  established  a  series  of  control  posts  at  Staadt,  Kastel,  Freuden- 
burg,  Weiten,  Rodt,  Taben  and  various  points  along  the  main  roads 
leading  into  the  area.  The  94th  Signal  Company  connected  these  by 
telephones,  with  the  circuit  so  arranged  that  all  posts  could  hear 
instructions  given  other  stations.  Two  MPs  were  placed  at  each  posi- 
tion: one  manned  the  phone  while  the  other  controlled  the  flow  of 
traffic.  A  central  control  station  was  established  by  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Phillips,  the  G-4,  in  his  office  at  Freudenburg. 

Before  a  convoy  was  permitted  to  enter  the  road  net  of  the  controlled 
area,  its  commander  was  obliged  to  call  Traffic  Control  and  report  the 
number  and  type  of  vehicles.  The  G-4  Section  then  indicated  the  exact 
time  at  which  the  convoy  might  proceed  and  informed  the  various 
numbered  posts  within  the  area  of  the  approach  of  the  column.  Each 
control  post  would  alert  the  next  by  announcing  the  approach  of  a 
column,  and  once  it  had  passed  would  inform  Traffic  Control  that  it 
had  cleared.  This  extensive  communications  system  also  permitted 
columns  to  be  halted  quickly  in  the  event  of  enemy  artillery  fire  on 
any  particular  sector  of  the  controlled  area.  Columns  travelled  well 
dispersed  and  moved  freely  through  the  critical  zone.  Effective  execu- 
tion of  this  plan  moved  all  organic  transportation  of  the  Division  and 
its  attached  units,  along  with  most  of  the  vehicles  of  the  10th  Armored 
Division,  across  the  Saar  in  record  time. 


completed  and  ready  for  traffic. 


Origiral  from 
UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


THE  FOURTH  AND  FIFTH  DAYS 


319 


To  clear  the  area  north  to  Beurig  and  secure  the  lateral  route  from 
Saarburg  to  Irsch  before  the  arrival  of  the  armor  in  the  Division  bridge- 
head presented  a  big  problem.  Since  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  and  the 
3d  Battalion,  302d,  were  in  the  best  positions  to  make  the  sweep  north, 
orders  were  speedily  issued  to  them.  Simultaneous  thrusts  were  to  be 
made  by  Lieutenant  Colonel  McNulty's  men,  on  the  left,  aiming  at 
Beurig  and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt's  battalion  pushing  to  Irsch. 

In  front  of  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  lay  approximately  1,500  yards 
of  heavy  forest  and  beyond  this  the  fortified  town  of  Beurig.  Through 
these  woods  the  rifle  companies  moved,  routing  out  snipers  and  re- 
ducing machine-gun  nests.  Finally  they  reached  edge  of  the  woods 
and  looked  down  into  Beurig.  The  ground  was  wide  open,  studded 
with  pillboxes  and  bunkers,  wire  entanglements  and  tank  traps,  com- 
munication trenches  and  minefields. 

On  the  edge  of  the  woods  Company  I  holed  up  in  some  houses  and 
waited  for  dawn.  As  the  troops  settled  down  to  rest,  mortar  shells 
began  falling  on  and  around  the  buildings  they  occupied.  While  the 
shells  were  not  of  a  heavy  caliber,  the  concentrations  were  intense. 
It  was  soon  observed  that  they  were  coming  from  the  vicinity  of  the 
hospital  east  of  town;  judging  by  sound  alone,  it  seemed  as  if  only  one 
weapon  was  firing.  If  this  were  so,  the  German  gunners  were  getting 
as  many  as  twenty-seven  shells  in  the  air  before  the  first  exploded.  Be- 
cause of  this  fire,  the  company  was  withdrawn  from  the  houses  into 
the  woods,  which  were  receiving  no  attention  from  the  enemy  mortar. 
The  following  day,  when  the  area  was  cleared,  a  50mm  belt-fed  mortar 
responsible  for  the  above  concentrations  was  discovered  in  one  of  the 
pillboxes  taken. 

At  the  same  time  Company  I  closed  up  to  the  edge  of  the  woods 
in  front  of  Beurig,  Company  K,  on  the  right  of  the  battalion,  was  look- 
ing down  into  Irsch  from  the  edge  of  the  woods  in  its  zone.  Farther 
to  the  right  on  the  high  ground  across  the  stream  flowing  north  into 
Irsch,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt's  men  were  in  position  above  the 
town. 

During  the  afternoon  of  the  25th,  prior  to  the  completion  of  the 
tread  way  bridge  at  Serrig,  Combat  Command  B  of  the  10th  Armored 
Division  began  crossing  at  Taben.  CCB  was  to  move  up  the  river  road, 
through  Serrig  to  the  Beurig-Irsch  road,  where  it  would  turn  east  to 
gain  access  to  the  Zerf-Pellingen  road  which  led  to  Trier.  At  Irsch 
the  tankers  were  to  pick  up  their  armored  infantrymen  who  had 
crossed  into  the  376th  bridgehead  opposite  Ayl  and  were  fighting 
south. 


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men  in  Inch  bu^  finding  the  town  still  held  by  the  enemy,  vvarmly 
*  e  ^MS^rice  <:>t  Company  K„  Half  fh#  tOvvn  was.  < lea  red 


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THE  FOURTH  AND  FIFTH  DAYS 


323 


sisted  of  his  own  2d  and  3d  Battalions  and  the  3d  Battalion  of  the 
301st.  Colonel  Hagerty  in  the  southern  sector  was  in  command  of  the 
1st  and  2d  Battalions  301st  and  the  1st  Battalion  302d. 

During  the  afternoon  of  the  25th  there  was  considerable  activity 
in  the  southern  half  of  the  bridgehead.  On  Hocker  Hill,  Company  A 
of  the  301st  was  counterattacked  by  the  506th  SS  Panzergrenadier 
Battalion  which  had  just  moved  into  the  area.  Against  this  assault,  the 
company's  front  held  fast,  though  at  one  point  the  SS  troops  were 
able  to  advance  their  lines  to  within  seventy-five  yards  of  the  American 
positions. 

This  same  afternoon,  Company  B  of  the  302d,  less  the  2d  Platoon, 
which  was  operating  against  the  pillbox  area  on  the  ridge  road,  re- 
lieved Company  C  on  the  hill  east  of  Serrig.  The  latter  company 
moved  into  town  for  a  well  earned  rest. 

At  1315  hours  on  the  25th  the  position  of  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion 
astride  the  Beurig-Zerf  road  also  received  a  determined  enemy  coun- 
terattack. After  several  hours  of  bitter  fighting,  the  Germans  were 
repulsed.  In  the  fracas  the  Rangers  took  120  prisoners. 

In  the  area  of  the  2d  Battalion  301st,  Captain  Steinen's  company 
jumped  off  at  1800  hours,  passing  through  Company  E  to  assault 
Wackelser  Fels,  a  hill  to  the  south  of  Hocker  Hill.  Advancing  behind 
their  own  marching  fire  the  men  of  the  composite  company  were  able 
to  seize  part  of  their  objective.  However,  the  highest  ground  remained 
in  German  hands  by  reason  of  the  volume  of  machine-gun,  sniper, 
artillery  and  mortar  fire  the  enemy  was  able  to  bring  to  bear.  It  was 
almost  impossible  to  dig  in  on  the  rocky  terrain  and  with  the  coming 
of  darkness  the  situation  continued  extremely  fluid. 

February  26,  1945 

At  1000  hours  on  the  morning  of  the  26th  the  3d  Battalion,  301st, 
launched  its  attack  against  Beurig.  The  open  ground  surrounding  the 
town  bristled  with  enemy  fortifications  and  the  companies  moved 
forward  slowly.  Surprisingly,  the  first  pillboxes  were  taken  with  a 
minimum  of  effort  and  after  this  there  was  practically  no  resistance. 
Cautiously,  the  troops  advanced  in  the  silent,  deserted  town.  Houses 
were  checked  methodically  as  the  leading  elements  pushed  to  the 
center  of  the  town.  Suddenly,  activity  was  noted  in  the  northern  and 
yet  unexplored  portion  of  Beurig.  A  quick  scrutiny  sufficed  to  confirm 
the  fact  that  the  troops  to  the  front  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  McNulty's 
battalion  were  Americans.  As  the  forces  joined,  the  newcomers  identi- 


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THE  FOURTH  AND  FIFTH  DAYS 


327 


outside  the  first  box.  He  grenaded  the  position,  then  persuaded  the 
enemy  to  surrender.  Among  the  prisoners  taken  was  a  German  NCO 
who  agreed  to  negotiate  the  surrender  of  the  other  boxes.  In  short 
order,  the  platoon  had  all  seven  pillboxes  and  seventy  prisoners  to  its 
credit.  Without  difficulty  the  town  of  Saarhausen  was  entered  and 
the  desired  roadblock  erected  and  manned  by  riflemen.  That  night  the 
platoon  dined  on  fried  ham  and  eggs  prepared  by  a  German  housewife. 
Furthermore,  they  continued  to  fare  well  for  the  two  days  they  held 
this  position  after  being  reinforced  by  the  battalion  antitank  platoon. 

The  same  afternoon,  Technical  Sergeant  Frank  S.  Drobinski  of  Com- 
pany C  of  the  301st,  received  word  that  if  he  returned  immediately  to 
the  battalion  CP  in  Taben,  he  could  leave  for  the  States  on  a  rotation 
furlough.  As  he  started  down  Hocker  Hill,  geysers  of  water  were 
being  thrown  up  in  the  river  by  the  explosion  of  enemy  shells.  Through 
their  glasses,  men  of  the  battalion  intelligence  section  followed  the 
sergeant's  movement  down  the  hill  and  across  the  treadway  bridge. 
He  made  the  trip  safely. 

In  Taben  enemy  artillery  fell  with  clock-like  precision  and  sur- 
prising accuracy.  It  was  soon  discovered  the  best  time  to  enter  or 
leave  town  was  immediately  after  the  German  artillerymen  finished  a 
concentration.  All  supplies  for  the  battalions  on  Hocker  Hill  passed 
through  town,  were  brought  across  the  river  and  then  hauled  to  the 
units  by  carrying  parties  that  climbed  the  steep  cliff  trails.  Battalion 
headquarters  companies  furnished  most  of  the  men  for  these  details, 
but  cooks,  mail  orderlies  and  artificers  were  included  in  the  columns. 

Medical  evacuation  from  the  outset  of  the  operation  was  extremely 
difficult  in  the  Taben  area.  Casualties  had  to  be  carried  from  Hocker 
Hill  and  the  surrounding  heights  by  litter  teams,  hauled  across  the 
river  and  up  the  steep  and  sometimes  fire-swept  road  into  Taben.  Prior 
to  the  26th,  ambulances  approaching  the  bridge  site  were  subject  to 
sniper  as  well  as  artillery  fire. 


Original  from 
UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


Chapter  34:  THE  FIGHT  FOR  THE  HILLTOPS 


ON  THE  27th,  General  Malony  received  orders  to  continue  the 
expansion  of  the  bridgehead  to  the  line  Geizenburg  (exclusive) 
to  the  river  bend  at  Hamm  and  Division  Field  Order  No.  14 
was  issued  indicating  eleven  hilltops,  west  of  the  Ruwer  River,  which 
were  the  next  objectives  of  the  94th.  Eight  of  these  were  in  the  zone 
of  the  302d  Infantry.  Between  the  men  of  Colonel  Johnson's  regiment 
and  these  strategic  bits  of  high  ground  were  twenty  square  kilometers 
of  wooded  terrain  which  would  have  to  be  cleared.  The  2d  and  3d 
Battalions,  302d,  were  ordered  to  continue  their  advance  toward  the 
most  northern  of  these  objectives,  while  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  cut- 
ting in  rear  of  the  above  units,  moved  east  to  seize  Hills  4,  5,  and  6 
which  surrounded  Zerf. 

The  3d  Battalion,  301st,  moved  out  of  Ockfen  the  morning  of  the 
27th  and  arrived  in  Irsch  about  noon.  Since  the  10th  Armored  Divi- 
sion had  priority  on  the  roads,  there  was  little  possibility  of  obtaining 
or  using  vehicles  to  move  the  battalion  east  toward  its  objectives, 
some  eight  thousand  yards  beyond  Irsch.  Loaded  with  full  equipment, 
the  tired  infantrymen  started  their  long  march.  It  was  growing  dark 
as  Company  K  turned  south  from  the  Irsch-Zerf  road  to  move  against 
Hill  4.  Between  the  company  and  its  objective  were  1,500  yards  of 
woods  which  would  have  to  be  cleared  before  the  hill  could  be 
assaulted. 

Unknown  to  Company  K,  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion  had  been  hold- 
ing these  woods  for  the  last  four  days  against  repeated  enemy  counter- 
attacks. In  turn  the  Rangers  were  unaware  that  elements  of  the  Divi- 
sion were  in  the  immediate  vicinity.  As  the  company  reached  a  point 
some  five  hundred  yards  within  the  woods,  from  the  darkness  ahead 
came  a  sharp  command  to  halt.  At  the  same  time  the  unmistakable 
sound  of  a  machine  gun  being  cocked  was  heard.  Somewhere  along 
the  line  a  rifle  was  fired;  instantly  a  fire  fight  developed.  Lieutenant 
Robert  L.  Vinue,  certain  that  the  command  to  halt  had  been  given 
by  an  American,  dashed  toward  the  Ranger  lines  shouting  for  them 
to  hold  their  fire.  In  this  he  succeeded,  after  a  few  minutes  in  which 
both  units  swapped  lead  at  almost  point-blank  range.  The  engage- 
ment proved  costly  to  Company  K  which  lost  three  men  killed  and 
seven  wounded.  These  losses  brought  the  effective  strength  of  the 
company  down  to  fifty  men.  Checking  with  the  Rangers,  Captain 
Warren  learned  that  his  objective  was  occupied  by  the  enemy  and  that 
there  were  pillboxes  to  his  front  which  would  have  to  be  reduced.  In 
view  of  these  facts,  it  was  decided  to  await  the  coming  of  light  to 
reconnoiter  the  objective. 

328 


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THE  FIGHT  FOR  THE  HILLTOPS 


329 


Meanwhile  the  remainder  of  the  battalion  marched  into  Zerf  under 
the  cover  of  darkness.  Patrols  were  dispatched  to  Hills  5  and  6,  which 
dominated  the  town,  to  learn  if  they  were  occupied  by  the  enemy. 
When  it  was  discovered  the  Germans  held  Hill  5,  Company  L  took 
positions  in  Zerf  for  the  night  and  laid  plans  for  an  assault  the  fol- 
lowing morning.  Hill  6  was  free  of  the  enemy,  so  Company  I  moved 
immediately  to  occupy  this  objective. 

With  the  receipt  of  the  new  orders,  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  made 
preparations  for  a  continuation  of  the  advance  to  the  northeast,  against 
the  high  ground  from  which  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  had  received 
so  much  fire  while  it  was  practically  isolated  on  Scharfenberg  Ridge. 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt  launched  his  attack  at  1750  hours,  under 
the  support  of  all  available  antiaircraft,  tank  and  tank  destroyer 
weapons  he  could  muster.  This  fire  literally  riddled  the  rocky  crest 
of  his  objective.  When  the  assault  elements  of  the  battalion  were 
within  five  hundred  yards  of  the  hill,  the  enemy  holding  the  position 
began  to  surrender.  The  concentrated  fire  of  the  .50-calibers  and  75s 
had  been  too  much.  The  position  fell  without  resistance. 

In  proceeding  along  the  ridge,  Company  L  encountered  four  mu- 
tually supporting  pillboxes  and  negotiated  for  their  surrender.  A  Ger- 
man first  sergeant,  who  was  in  charge  of  the  strongpoint,  agreed  to 
yield  if  the  Americans  would  stage  a  mock  battle  to  save  his  reputa- 
tion. Company  L  made  the  desired  demonstration,  after  which  three 
of  the  boxes  surrendered.  The  fourth  refused  to  capitulate  and  since 
it  was  now  dark,  an  attack  on  the  last  pillbox  was  postponed  until 
morning. 

In  moving  forward  Company  K  had  discovered  some  large  caves 
in  the  side  of  a  hill.  These  were  crowded  with  German  civilians  who 
were  placed  under  guard  and  moved  to  Irsch.  In  moving  to  the  rear 
the  guards  were  fired  upon  by  a  nine-man  German  patrol,  but  after 
the  first  shot  or  two  the  attackers  lost  their  ardor  and  elected  to  join 
the  captives.  Meanwhile,  the  battalion  continued  forward  and  by  1950 
hours  all  assigned  objectives  had  been  taken. 

To  the  right,  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  also  received  orders  during  the 
afternoon  for  a  continuation  of  the  advance.  Since  much  of  the  ground 
in  its  zone  was  open  and  without  cover,  Major  Maixner  elected  to 
accomplish  his  mission  after  dark.  At  1915  hours  the  battalion  moved 
forward.  The  ridge  to  its  front  was  taken  without  difficulty  and  the 
advance  continued.  As  Company  F  moved  across  a  bald  hill,  the  lead 
scouts  found  themselves  face  to  face  with  a  group  of  Germans.  Open- 


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331 


ing  area.  Throughout  the  27th  and  the  28th  the  company  continued 
to  hold  these  positions  with  little  difficulty. 

Also  on  the  27th  the  troublesome  pillbox  at  the  Hamm  bend  on 
the  ridge  road  again  was  taken.  Led  by  Lieutenant  Arthur  A.  Shock- 
snyder  and  Lieutenant  Eckstrom,  the  2d  and  3d  Platoons  of  Company 
B,  301st,  reduced  the  position  with  a  two-pronged  attack  which  also 
cleared  the  surrounding  area.  This  action  lifted  the  last  German  ob- 
servation north  of  Taben  within  the  Division  zone. 

To  clear  the  heights  of  Wackelser  Fels,  the  2d  Battalion,  301st, 
launched  another  attack  on  the  27th.  Perfect  enemy  observation  from 
the  heights  above  and  the  understrength  condition  of  Captain  Steinen's 
Company  and  Company  G  prevented  the  battalion  from  storming  its 
objective.  Following  this  unsuccessful  thrust,  the  lines  reverted  to  the 
same  general  positions  previously  held  by  Major  Brumley's  men.  During 
the  morning  Staff  Sergeant  Murry  W.  Forsyth  of  Company  H,  who 
was  manning  a  Company  OP,  was  hit  in  the  legs  and  back  by  artillery 
fragments.  He  remained  at  his  post,  continuing  to  direct  the  fire  of  the 
2d  Battalion's  81s  until  late  in  the  afternoon  when  he  was  carried  from 
the  position.  After  dark  Private  David  H.  Troupe,  a  recent  reinforce- 
ment to  Company  E,  was  included  on  a  patrol  because  of  his  ability 
to  speak  German.  When  his  party  was  challenged  by  an  enemy  sentry 
in  the  vicinity  of  a  known  German  strongpoint,  Troupe  snarled 
angrily  in  German,  "Shut  your  mouth!  What  do  you  want  to  do,  call 
the  officers?"  The  patrol  then  moved  off  unmolested. 

As  the  light  of  dawn  was  beginning  to  filter  into  the  foggy  valley 
of  the  Ruwer  River  on  the  morning  of  the  28th,  Company  L  launched 
its  attack  against  Hill  5.  The  enemy  was  taken  completely  by  surprise 
and  the  battle  was  short-lived.  Things  then  remained  fairly  quiet 
until  about  1515  hours  when,  preceded  by  a  ten-minute  artillery  con- 
centration, a  force  estimated  at  one  German  rifle  company  stormed 
out  of  the  woods  against  the  hill.  Supporting  the  German  infantry 
were  six  tanks  which  rumbled  up  the  road  east  of  Hill  5.  For  half  an 
hour  the  battle  raged  at  close  quarters  before  the  enemy  was  repulsed. 
Following  this  engagement  fourteen  PWs  were  marched  into  Zerf. 

Company  K  spent  the  morning  of  the  28th  conducting  reconnais- 
sance, forming  assault  squads  and  completing  plans  for  their  attack 
on  Hill  4.  At  1400  hours  Captain  Warren's  men  jumped  off  moving 
slowly  forward  in  the  face  of  heavy  fire  from  six  well  manned  pill- 
boxes. One  by  one  these  boxes  were  reduced  by  assault  groups  which 
effectively  employed  their  demolitions  against  embrasures  and  bunker 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


doors.  After  two  hours  of  hard  fighting  the  hill  was  cleared  and 
occupied. 

The  battalion  had  gained  all  its  objectives,  but  was  scattered  over 
better  than  four  thousand  yards  of  frontage,  holding  Hills  4,  5,  and  6. 
Between  these  strong  points  the  enemy  was  free  to  infiltrate,  hampered 
only  by  American  patrols.  Total  strength  in  riflemen  of  the  three  line 
companies  did  not  exceed  two  hundred  men.  To  make  matters  worse, 
the  amount  of  enemy  artillery  and  mortar  fire  falling  on  the  American 
positions  increased.  A  German  88,  zeroed  on  the  big  bend  in  the  road 
southwest  of  Zerf,  sniped  at  every  vehicle  entering  or  leaving  town 
and  a  shell  fragment  from  this  piece  neatly  removed  the  windshield 
of  General  Malony's  escort  vehicle  on  one  of  his  trips  to  Zerf. 

The  following  morning  the  enemy  again  attacked  Hill  5  in  an 
attempt  to  regain  this  valuable  piece  of  terrain  which  afforded  un- 
obstructed observation  of  the  town  of  Zerf  and  the  American  main 
supply  route  which  passed  through  it.  This  attack  was  repulsed,  but 
not  without  losses.  Lieutenant  Minnich,  who  had  assumed  command 
of  Company  L  a  few  days  before,  was  among  the  wounded;  command 
passed  to  Lieutenant  Robert  H.  Henley. 

Hour  by  hour  as  the  day  progressed,  the  volume  of  mortar,  artillery 
and  rocket  fire  on  Zerf  and  the  road  into  town  increased.  Before  long, 
and  with  good  reason,  the  area  was  dubbed  Dead  Man's  Corner.  Be- 
yond the  town,  the  Division's  strongpoints  were  pounded  relentlessly 
by  the  enemy.  German  patrols  probed  the  area  and  minor  counter- 
attacks were  frequent.  Whenever  things  quieted,  the  men  on  the  hills 
took  what  steps  they  could  to  improve  their  positions.  Wire  entangle- 
ments were  spread,  antitank  mines  and  booby  traps  laid  and  trip  flares 
installed  to  warn  of  the  enemy's  approach.  Between  the  strongpoints 
and  among  the  gaps  in  the  final  protective  line  fires,  numerous  pre- 
arranged concentrations  were  plotted  for  the  mortars  and  artillery. 

On  the  morning  of  the  28th,  Company  L  of  the  302d  moved  against 
the  pillbox  which  had  refused  to  capitulate  after  the  mock  battle. 
As  the  infantrymen  closed  for  the  kill,  the  Germans  manning  the 
bunker  thought  better  of  their  decision  and  surrendered.  Following 
this  action,  the  battalion  received  some  badly  needed  reinforcements 
and  these  were  apportioned  among  the  companies.  However,  even 
with  the  new  men  the  number  of  effectives  was  so  low  that  one  platoon 
of  Company  K  was  attached  to  Company  I  and  another  to  Company  L 
to  form  two  moderate-sized  units. 

At  1605  hours  the  battalion  continued  its  attack.  On  the  next  hill 


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333 


both  Companies  I  and  L  encountered  manned  pillboxes.  Company  I 
employed  its  attached  platoon  in  a  flanking  movement  to  the  right, 
while  the  remainder  of  the  company  launched  a  frontal  assault.  After 
a  hard  fight  all  positions  in  the  company  zone  were  reduced  by  1940 
hours.  Company  L  had  particular  difficulty  in  reducing  the  last  pillbox 
in  its  sector.  Yelling  from  the  embrasures,  the  Germans  lured  a  pla- 
toon sergeant  forward  to  negotiate  a  surrender,  then  shot  him  with 
their  machine  gun.  This  action  spurred  the  company  to  greater  effort. 
A  satchel  charge  was  worked  forward  and  detonated  against  one  of 
the  pillbox's  embrasures;  following  this  the  enemy  decided  to  yield. 

Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt's  men  then  reorganized  and  moved  off 
through  the  dense  woods  on  a  compass  bearing,  against  the  next  enemy 
strongpoint  they  were  scheduled  to  reduce.  It  was  extremely  dark  as 
the  troops  pushed  down  the  steep  slope  to  their  front,  into  a  ravine 
and  up  the  rugged  slope  on  the  far  side.  The  battalion  advanced 
steadily  but  could  find  no  trace  of  enemy  pillboxes.  In  all  directions 
the  woods  were  searched  without  a  single  bunker  being  discovered. 
When  daylight  came  and  the  objective  had  still  not  been  located,  the 
artillery  was  requested  to  fire  a  smoke  shell  on  the  coordinates  of  the 
enemy  position.  This  shell  exploded  about  one  thousand  yards  to  the 
rear  of  the  battalion;  there  the  pillboxes  were  located.  So  cleverly  were 
these  positions  camouflaged  that  the  scouts  of  the  battalion  had 
walked  over  them  in  the  darkness  without  detecting  their  presence. 

The  2d  Battalion,  302d,  after  receiving  its  replacements,  attacked 
at  1425  hours  on  the  28th,  with  its  three  rifle  companies  abreast.  All 
companies  moved  forward  rapidly,  mopping  up  a  few  scattered  snipers 
and  some  machine  gun  nests.  On  reaching  the  top  of  the  ridge,  Com- 
pany F  swept  onward  and  with  little  difficulty  occupied  Hill  7.  Com- 
pany E  moved  into  Baldringen  where  a  hot  street  fight  developed  as 
the  enemy  put  up  the  first  determined  resistance  since  Irsch.  Progress 
was  slow,  but  by  1845  hours  the  entire  battalion  was  on  its  objective. 

The  following  morning  at  1030  hours  Major  Maixner's  men  moved 
forward  in  the  last  phase  of  their  attack,  when  Company  F  pushed 
down  the  forward  slope  of  Hill  7,  into  Hentern.  German  civilians 
in  the  town  presented  a  big  problem  as  this  was  the  first  town  in  which 
the  civil  population  had  remained  to  face  the  Division's  advance. 
Civilians  were  rounded  up  and  herded  into  the  schoolhouse  in  the 
center  of  town  where  they  were  placed  under  guard.  Staff  Sergeant 
Paul  Pflueger  continues  the  story. 

In  the  early  afternoon  Private  First  Class  Philip  Moscinski  and  Private  First 


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THE  FIGHT  FOR  THE  HILLTOPS 


335 


Class  Donald  Lundquist  came  running  to  the  outpost  where  I  was  stationed  to 
report  that  the  schoolhouse  was  in  a  wild  state  of  excitement  because  one  of  the 
women  was  going  to  have  a  baby.  All  of  the  civilians  were  jabbering,  so  they 
wanted  me  to  try  to  restore  order  by  speaking  to  them  in  German.  Just  as  I 
started  in  the  direction  of  the  schoolhouse,  the  expectant  mother  dashed  down  the 
road,  past  our  farthest  outpost,  over  a  small  bridge  to  a  house  near  the  edge  of 
the  woods  which  was  held  by  the  Germans.  Despite  the  confusion  created  by  a 
group  of  excited  civilians  who  gathered  around  me,  I  managed  to  find  one  old 
woman  who  would  act  as  midwife.  She,  Technician  Fifth  Grade  Oscar  Sommer- 
ford  [1st  Platoon  aid  man]  and  I  hurried  to  the  house  and  into  the  basement 
where  we  found  the  frightened  woman.  She  had  fled  from  the  crowded  school- 
house  to  find  a  comfortable  couch  and  a  clean  spot  to  have  her  baby.  With 
the  aid  of  two  other  women,  the  midwife,  Oscar  and  I  prepared  hot  water 
and  clean  bandages.  Sommerford  and  I  were  like  fish  out  of  water.  Neither 
of  us  had  ever  been  present  for  a  childbirth,  except  our  own.  We  hoped  the 
baby  would  come  before  nightfall,  so  that  we  could  evacuate  the  whole  group 
to  the  center  of  town  and  have  the  security  of  the  outposts.  As  it  was,  the 
Germans  could  walk  in  on  us  without  the  knowledge  of  our  outposts.  But, 
the  baby  didn't  cooperate. 

Six  o'clock  came.  It  was  nearly  dark  outside.  Sommerford  decided  to  go  to 
the  company  CP  to  phone  Captain  Siegel  at  the  aid  station  for  instructions.  I 
was  left  behind  in  the  candle-lit  basement  with  the  women.  Some  distant  artil- 
lery shells  were  bursting.  With  every  explosion  the  women  became  terrified  and 
fell  on  their  knees  to  pray  in  a  droning,  tearful  way  .  .  .  "Heilige  Maria'  .  .  . 
the  young  mother  was  in  her  labor  pains.  I  had  to  help  her  strain,  massage 
her  stomach  and  see  if  the  baby  was  on  its  way.  Time  ground  on.  Seven  o'clock. 
Eight  o'clock.  It  was  now  pitch-dark  outside  the  bolted  door.  I  kept  thinking 
to  myself:  I  wonder  what  the  Germans  will  do  if  they  find  me  here?  Especially 
if  they  see  the  Luger  pistol  I  took  from  a  Nazi  noncom  after  crossing  the  Saar. 

Suddenly  there  was  a  sharp  rapping  at  the  door.  I  was  relieved  to  hear  the 
voice  of  Sommerford  and  quickly  opened  the  bolt.  He  told  me  we  had  orders 
to  draw  back  into  town  immediately  as  there  was  another  report  of  a  possible 
counterattack.  The  baby  was  about  to  arrive.  (I  heard  the  next  day  a  bouncing 
boy  made  his  appearance  five  minutes  after  we  left.) 

Leaving  the  scared  women,  we  started  out  into  the  blackness.  You  couldn't 
see  your  hand  in  front  of  your  face.  It  was  impossible  to  detect  the  road,  you 
had  to  feel  it  with  your  feet.  We  almost  missed  the  bridge,  which  was  packed 
with  dynamite,  ready  to  be  blown  in  case  of  an  enemy  attack.  Just  across  the 
bridge  was  a  tank  blockade  of  logs  in  which  an  opening  had  been  sawed.  Wav- 
ing my  hands  in  front  of  me,  I  felt  the  rear  end  of  a  horse  which  was  standing 
defiantly  in  the  middle  of  the  opening.  I  hit  him  with  my  hand  and  then  the 
butt  of  my  rifle  trying  to  get  him  to  move.  Instead  he  kicked  out  viciously  with 
his  hind  legs,  hitting  me  directly  in  the  stomach  (which  fortunately  was  padded 
by  a  blanket  I  was  carrying).  Then  the  horse  galloped  off.  Moving  ahead, 
Oscar  called  to  me,  "Hey,  Pflueger,  come  over  this  way.  Here's  the  road  over 
here."  Just  then  I  heard  a  loud  splash.  Oscar  had  mistaken  the  creek  for  the 
road.  Somehow  we  managed  to  feel  our  way  to  the  company  CP  without 
further  incident. 


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Company  G,  on  the  left  of  the  battalion,  swung  to  the  east  as  it 
cleared  the  last  of  the  woods  in  its  sector  and  moved  across  the  open 
ground  to  Paschel,  Schomerick  and  Hill  8.  Small  groups  of  snipers 
left  behind  by  the  Germans  to  delay  the  American  advance  were 
quickly  wiped  out,  and  the  battalion  was  in  possession  of  its  final 
objective  by  1300  hours  on  the  1st  of  March.  Defensive  positions 
were  prepared  and  continually  improved  during  the  following  days. 

The  2d  Battalion,  301st,  on  the  extreme  southern  flank  of  the  bridge- 
head, also  continued  to  improve  its  positions  on  the  28th.  The  bat- 
talion's lines  were  stretched  thin  and  the  enemy  held  considerable 
ground  which  looked  down  on  Major  Brumley's  position.  Although 
the  situation  was  undesirable,  this  line  had  to  be  held. 

Also  on  the  28th,  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion,  after  assisting  the  3d 
Battalion,  301st,  in  the  capture  of  Hill  4,  moved  forward  and  took 
Hill  3  at  1540  hours  after  encountering  stiff  enemy  resistance.  At  1745 
hours  the  Germans  struck  back  with  a  counterattack  which  was  re- 
pulsed after  Lieutenant  Colonel  Sullivan's  men  had  inflicted  heavy 
casualties  on  the  enemy  and  taken  150  prisoners. 

On  the  1st  of  March  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  attacked  during  the 
morning  to  gain  Hill  2,  southeast  of  Serrig.  Companies  A  and  C 
launched  this  thrust  while  Company  B  remained  in  a  defensive  posi- 
tion on  the  left  of  the  battalion  sector.  About  three  hundred  yards 
across  the  line  of  departure,  the  assault  companies  were  hit  by  a  hail 
of  enemy  rocket,  artillery,  mortar  and  small-arms  fire.  Both  units,  al- 
ready pitifully  under  strength,  suffered  heavily.  In  Company  A,  Ser- 
geant Chester  Burns  was  the  only  one  of  his  seven-man  squad  to 
escape  death  or  injury.  Some  of  Company  Cs  squads  were  down  to 
two  men.  As  the  advance  stalled,  the  men  dug  in  at  the  point  of  their 
farthest  advance.  These  positions  were  in  full  view  of  the  high 
ground  held  by  the  enemy  from  which  they  were  pounded  relentlessly. 
About  the  middle  of  the  afternoon,  the  intensity  and  accuracy  of  the 
German  fire  forced  the  companies  to  withdraw.  The  battalion  fell 
back  to  its  original  lines  where  the  troops  dug  in  for  the  night. 

In  conjunction  with  the  assault  of  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  Company 
A  of  the  301st,  on  the  right  of  Major  Stanion's  command,  moved  for- 
ward. The  object  of  its  advance  was  to  hinge  the  left  flank  of  Major 
Hodges'  battalion  on  the  right  of  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  if  the  attack- 
were  a  success.  Company  A  also  encountered  determined  resistance 
and  stopped  when  the  battalion  on  its  left  was  halted.  During  the 
attack,  a  section  of  Company  D's  machine  guns,  under  Lieutenant 


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Howard  P.  Rives,  supported  Company  A.  By  the  time  the  rifle  pla- 
toons began  to  withdraw,  only  two  men  and  the  lieutenant  were  still 
in  the  action.  Company  A's  strength  had  been  seventy-five  riflemen 
when  it  moved  to  the  attack.  As  it  withdrew  from  this  unsuccessful 
venture,  there  were  only  twenty-eight  effectives  left. 

On  the  evening  of  March  1,  1945,  the  2d  Battalion,  301st,  obtained 
an  accurate  bearing  on  some  German  mortars  which  had  been  causing 
quite  a  bit  of  trouble.  A  fire  mission  was  requested,  but  the  301st 
Field  Artillery  could  not  respond  immediately  because  of  a  priority 
mission.  Consequently,  the  task  was  bucked  to  Cannon  Company  of 
the  301st,  and  six  105mm  infantry  howitzers  went  into  action.  The 
mortars  were  silenced  and  enemy  prisoners  later  reported  this  fire  also 
broke  up  a  German  counterattack  by  falling  on  the  assembly  area  in 
which  it  was  forming. 

The  3d  Battalion,  302d,  making  a  wide  turn,  pushed  forward  at 
1115  hours  on  March  1,  1945.  Companies  I  and  K  were  to  clear  the 
last  of  the  woods  while  Company  L  remained  in  reserve.  Encountering 
little  resistance,  the  assault  companies  soon  broke  into  the  open  and 
crossed  the  Zerf-Pellingen  road  which  was  the  main  route  into  Trier. 
Through  the  afternoon  the  advance  continued  eastward  and  by  1830 
hours,  Company  I  had  taken  Lampaden  and  Company  K  was  in 
Obersehr.  Early  the  following  morning,  they  moved  forward  again 
and  by  0837  hours  had  occupied  Hills  9,  10  and  11.  During  the  after- 
noon Company  L  was  brought  forward  to  Paschel  to  be  within  sup- 
porting distance  of  the  rest  of  the  battalion. 

At  0900  hours  on  the  2d  of  March,  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  attacked 
Hill  2  for  the  second  time.  Fifty  minutes  later  it  made  contact  with 
the  5th  Rangers  on  the  left  and  the  assault  forces  continued  forward 
slowly,  against  increasing  resistance,  until  shortly  after  noon  when  the 
leading  elements  gained  a  foothold  on  the  northern  portion  of  the 
objective.  A  patrol  was  then  dispatched  to  the  Rangers  to  request  tank 
support  with  which  it  was  hoped  the  remainder  of  Hill  2  could  be  wron. 
At  1426  hours  Major  Stanion's  battalion  reported  to  the  301st  Infantry, 
to  whom  it  was  attached,  that  thirty-seven  men,  elements  of  Companies 
B  and  C,  and  a  section  of  HMGs  from  Company  D,  were  on  the 
northern  half  of  the  objective.  This  force  represented  remnants  of 
the  175  men  who  had  jumped  off  for  the  attack  at  0900  hours.  There 
was  still  no  word  of  the  fate  of  the  patrol  which  had  been  sent  to  the 
Rangers  for  tank  support  when  the  enemy  launched  a  violent  counter- 


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attack  at  1818  hours  and  drove  the  small  force  from  the  hill.  In  this 
engagement  the  depleted  companies  again  suffered  heavily.  One 
enemy  concentration  alone,  employed  in  the  neighborhood  of  200 
rockets. 

As  on  the  previous  day,  Company  A  of  the  301st  attacked  to  tie  in 
on  Major  Stanion's  right  should  Hill  2  be  taken.  The  desired  contact 
was  made  about  noon,  but  the  enemy's  counterattack  dislodged  the 
company.  Determined  to  hold  the  hill  in  question,  the  Germans  were 
willing  to  sacrifice  the  men  necessary  to  accomplish  this  end. 

On  the  morning  of  the  3d,  Company  C  of  the  302d,  which  had  been 
able  to  muster  about  seventy  men,  jumped  off  at  1000  hours  to  storm 
Hill  2  again.  En  route  it  was  held  up  by  the  intensity  of  the  enemy's 
fire.  The  battalion  commander  went  forward  to  the  company  CP  and 
after  personally  checking  the  situation,  sent  his  S-3,  Lieutenant  Robert 
L.  Woodburn,  to  Colonel  Hagerty  to  explain  the  depleted  condition 
of  the  battalion  and  the  impossibility  of  this  understrength  force  taking 
the  assigned  objective.  As  a  result,  the  mission  of  the  battalion  was 
changed.  The  1st  Battalion,  302d,  was  instructed  to  hold  what  ground 
it  had  and  establish  contact  with  the  units  on  its  flanks.  Orders  were 
received  for  the  relief  of  this  battalion  by  elements  of  the  3d  Battalion, 
376th,  the  following  day. 

While  these  actions  were  taking  place  along  the  front,  the  Division 
engineers  were  destroying  the  pillboxes  and  bunkers  of  the  Siegfried 
Line  which  had  already  been  taken.  Many  of  the  boxes  held  large 
stores  of  ammunition  with  which  they  could  be  blown  up  readily. 
Where  the  explosives  on  hand  were  insufficient  for  complete  destruc- 
tion, additional  enemy  ammunition  was  hauled  forward  from  the 
German  dump  in  the  vicinity  of  Beurig.  In  addition  to  handling  demo- 
litions, the  engineers  had  their  ever-present  jobs  of  supply  and  mainte- 
nance throughout  the  Division  area. 

During  this  period,  February  27  to  March  2,  the  Division  added 
1719  prisoners  to  its  ever  mounting  total  with  scores  of  556,  650, 
278,  and  235  on  succeeding  days. 

With  the  exception  of  Hill  2,  the  objectives  outlined  by  Division 
Field  Order  No.  14  had  been  taken.  All  that  remained  was  to  hold 
the  bridgehead  until  additional  troops  could  be  brought  into  the  area 
by  XX  Corps  for  a  new  push  to  the  east. 


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ATTACHMENT  OF  THE  376th  Combat  Team  to  the  10th  Armored 
f\  Division  was  continued  by  Corps  Field  Order  No.  11,  which 
XjJL  also  directed  the  tankers  to  effect  a  crossing  of  the  Saar  on  the 
morning  of  February  22.  After  taking  their  objectives  of  Wincheringen 
and  Bilzingen,  the  2d  and  3d  Battalions,  376th  were  ordered  into 
Mannebach  and  accomplished  the  movement  by  marching.  The  1st 
Battalion,  in  regimental  reserve,  was  picked  up  in  Nennig  and  moved 
by  truck  to  join  the  rest  of  the  regiment.  At  the  same  time  the  regi- 
mental command  post  moved  to  Mannebach. 

When  Colonel  McClune  received  orders  from  the  10th  Armored 
Division  calling  for  an  assault  crossing  of  the  Saar  at  0400  hours  on 
the  morning  of  the  22d,  he  dispatched  liaison  officers  to  contact  his 
various  subordinate  commanders  and  have  them  report  to  him  without 
delay,  for  a  river  crossing  on  this  short  notice  presented  numerous 
problems.  Adding  to  the  enormity  of  the  task  was  the  swollen  condi- 
tion of  the  Saar  and  the  fact  that  the  main  defenses  of  the  Siegfried 
Line  lay  just  beyond  it.  No  one  had  yet  seen  the  river  or  the  pillbox- 
studded  hills  to  the  east,  for  the  armored  infantry  was  still  engaged 
in  clearing  the  area  west  of  the  Saar  from  which  the  crossing  would 
have  to  be  made.  However,  a  map  reconnaissance  presented  anything 
but  a  pretty  picture. 

It  was  well  after  dark  when  the  staff  and  commanders  assembled 
to  receive  the  attack  order.  The  regimental  commander  announced 
that  he  had  decided  to  employ  two  battalions  abreast  for  the  operation. 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston's  3d  Battalion  was  to  cross  directly  east 
of  Ayl  and  seize  the  steep  bluffs  north  of  Ockfen.  The  1st  Battalion, 
under  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner,  would  cross  several  hundred  yards 
up  stream  to  take  the  high  ground  south  of  town.  Upon  securing  these 
dominant  pieces  of  terrain,  the  remaining  battalion  was  to  cross  at 
the  northern  site  and  assault  Ockfen.  Regimental  objective  had  been 
designated  as  Scharfenberg  Ridge,  located  three  thousand  yards  east 
of  Ockfen  and  looking  down  the  valley  formed  by  the  two  hills  men- 
tioned above.  Once  the  entire  regiment  had  crossed  and  seized  its 
initial  objectives,  the  two  flank  battalions  were  to  push  east  to  the  final 
objective.  With  all  three  of  these  pieces  of  high  ground  secured,  the 
armor  would  have  a  bridgehead  through  the  defenses  of  the  Siegfried 
Line.  It  was  hoped  that  the  Saar  could  then  be  bridged  and  tank 
columns  driven  eastward,  deep  into  the  enemy  rear.  At  about  2100 
hours  the  meeting  terminated.  The  infantry  battalions  and  supporting 
units  began  their  preparations  for  the  crossing. 

Following  the  issuance  of  the  attack  order,  the  regimental  com- 

340 


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341 


mander  decided  to  conduct  a  personal  reconnaissance  of  the  crossing 
site  beyond  Ayl  and  at  the  same  time  to  select  a  CP  location  within 
the  town.  As  his  jeep  rolled  down  the  hill  toward  town,  movement 
could  be  seen  through  the  darkness  on  the  road  ahead.  The  driver 
slowed  his  vehicle,  expecting  to  be  challenged  by  an  American  sentry. 
Then,  one  of  the  figures  in  the  road  became  silhouetted — the  dis- 
tinctive outline  of  a  German  helmet  was  clearly  visible.  Luckily,  the 
enemy  was  as  startled  as  the  colonel  and  his  driver.  The  jeep  was 
slammed  into  reverse  and  a  hasty  retrograde  movement  began.  Return- 
ing to  Mannebach,  Colonel  McClune  contacted  10th  Armored  Division 
headquarters  and  was  informed  that  the  armored  infantry  was  about 
to  take  the  town  of  Ayl. 

The  regimental  kitchen  trains  had  pulled  into  Mannebach  after 
dark;  but  before  they  could  begin  feeding,  orders  were  received  to  move 
to  Ayl.  In  some  of  the  companies,  chow  lines  had  already  formed  and 
most  of  the  men  had  liberated  chinaware  for  their  first  hot  meal  in 
days.  As  the  prospects  of  a  good  meal  faded,  the  plates  were  tossed 
into  the  streets  with  a  clatter;  the  troops  shouldered  their  gear. 

It  was  midnight  before  the  leading  elements  of  the  1st  Battalion 
entered  Ayl,  prepared  for  any  eventuality;  but  in  short  order  they  en- 
countered the  armored  infantrymen  who  had  taken  the  town  a  little 
while  before.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's  men  then  closed  into  Ayl 
followed  by  the  3d  Battalion.  The  2d  Battalion  moved  into  the  woods 
on  the  hill  behind  town. 

No  assault  boats  had  yet  arrived,  so  Colonel  McClune  again  con- 
tacted armored  division  headquarters.  He  was  assured  the  boats  were 
on  the  way  and  would  arrive  in  time  for  the  crossing.  Since  the  fog 
in  the  river  valley  was  thick  and  to  avoid  any  delay  once  the  craft  did 
arrive,  the  1st  and  3d  Battalions  moved  into  position  for  their  re- 
spective crossings.  0400  hours,  the  designated  crossing  time,  came  and 
went.  Still  there  were  no  boats.  Daylight  began  to  break,  but  heavy 
fog  continued  to  blanket  the  river  and  the  surrounding  area.  Conse- 
quently, the  troops  were  held  in  position.  Against  the  time  when  the 
fog  would  lift,  smoke  generators  were  moved  forward  and  placed  on 
call.  Late  in  the  morning  when  the  fog  began  to  dispel  and  the  boats 
had  not  put  in  an  appearance,  the  troops  were  withdrawn  to  Ayl 
where  they  were  dispersed  in  the  buildings  throughout  town.  Shortly 
before  noon,  a  small  number  of  assault  craft  arrived,  but  they  were 
insufficient  for  a  crossing  operation  involving  a  full  infantry  regiment 
and  its  resupply  until  such  time  as  a  bridge  could  be  constructed. 

During  the  afternoon,  General  George  S.  Patton,  Jr.,  U.S.  Third 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


Army  commander,  visited  the  10th  Armored  command  post  and  was 
extremely  perturbed  that  the  crossing  had  not  been  initiated.  Several 
phone  calls  were  made  concerning  the  proposed  operation  and  at  1625 
hours  orders  were  received  by  Colonel  McClune  to  "cross  at  once." 

The  smoke  generators  went  into  action  and  soon  the  river  valley 
in  the  vicinity  of  the  crossing  sites  was  filled  with  dense,  billowing, 
white  smoke.  As  the  leading  companies  of  each  battalion  moved  to 
the  river,  the  enemy  threw  over  some  harassing  artillery  and  mortar 
fire  and  searched  the  area  with  automatic  weapons.  However,  the 
smoke  denied  all  observation. 

Then  something  went  wrong  and  the  smoke  generators,  many  of 
which  had  been  damaged  by  the  constant  enemy  machine-gun  fire, 
ceased  to  function  one  by  one.  A  slight  breeze  in  the  valley  dispelled 
the  smoke  and  before  long  the  enemy  had  unobstructed  observation 
of  the  crossings.  Their  OPs  registered  and  every  German  weapon 
within  range  was  brought  to  bear  on  the  American  positions.  Mortar 
and  artillery  fire  rained  on  Companies  C,  L  and  the  precious  river 
crossing  equipment.  Captain  Brightman  of  Company  L  was  killed  and 
Lieutenant  Cornelius,  commanding  the  1st  Battalion's  assault  company, 
was  wounded  and  had  to  be  evacuated.  As  the  tempo  of  enemy  fire 
increased,  all  hell  broke  loose.  To  avoid  a  slaughter,  the  troops  were 
ordered  back  to  Ayl  and  frantic  attempts  were  made  to  put  the  genera- 
tors back  into  action.  Many  of  these  machines  were  riddled  and  useless. 
In  addition,  the  volume  of  enemy  fire  made  it  almost  suicidal  for  the 
generator  operators  to  leave  the  cover  of  their  foxholes.  Not  a  single 
boat  escaped  destruction  and  crossing  operations  came  to  a  complete 
halt. 

10th  Armored  Division  was  informed  of  the  situation  and  Colonel 
McClune  was  requested  to  estimate  the  earliest  possible  time  at  which 
he  could  resume  crossing.  To  this  he  replied,  "One  hour  after  I 
receive  sufficient  boats."  Additional  craft  were  promised. 

At  2130  hours,  the  second  shipment  of  assault  boats  began  to  arrive 
at  Ayl.  Fog  had  again  settled  in  the  river  valley  and  conditions  seemed 
ideal  for  a  crossing,  which  was  then  scheduled  for  2300  hours.  The 
boat  convoy  slipped  through  town  and  east  to  the  junction  with  the 
road  paralleling  the  river.  There  the  boats  were  divided,  each  of  the 
assault  battalions  receiving  half  of  the  shipment. 

As  H-hour  approached,  the  advance  elements  of  both  battalions 
again  moved  out  of  town.  With  Company  C  in  the  lead,  the  1st  Bat- 
talion marched  down  the  road  east  of  Ayl  and  into  position  on  the 
flat,  open  plain  along  the  river.  The  3d  Battalion  used  the  road  lead- 


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ing  north  from  town  until  it  reached  the  small  stream  northeast  of  Ayl. 
Then,  leaving  the  road,  it  followed  the  stream  down  to  the  Saar.  Com- 
pany L,  originally  designated  as  the  3d  Battalion  assault  unit,  had 
suffered  heavily  on  the  river  bank  during  the  first  attempt  and  as  a 
result,  Company  I  was  assigned  the  lead. 

The  boats  were  moved  to  the  river  bank  where  the  men  who  were  to 
man  them  waited  impatiently  for  the  last  few  minutes  before  crossing 
time  to  tick  away.  Tension  was  great  and  the  memory  of  the  effective- 
ness of  the  enemy  fire  during  the  afternoon  made  the  short  delay  seem 
an  eternity.  Then,  suddenly  the  waiting  was  over.  Down  the  line  came 
the  signal  to  move  forward. 

The  men  jumped  for  the  boats  and  paddled  furiously  into  the  swift- 
moving  stream.  For  the  most  part  they  were  inexperienced  in  handling 
assault  craft  and  it  took  considerable  time  to  negotiate  the  river.  As 
the  boats  grounded  on  the  east  bank,  the  infantrymen  leaped  ashore 
and  dashed  forward  while  the  engineer  boat  crews  turned  their  craft 
about  to  start  back  for  the  second  wave. 

In  Company  I's  sector  there  was  no  initial  resistance  from  the  pill- 
boxes that  dominated  the  east  bank  of  the  Saar.  Lieutenant  William  R. 
Jacques,  commanding  the  company,  had  his  assault  squads  push  for- 
ward rapidly  toward  the  enemy  positions  they  were  scheduled  to  re- 
duce. Wire  was  encountered  and  breached  and  still  there  was  no  fire 
directed  against  the  company.  Pushing  farther  forward,  the  assault 
teams  closed  on  the  first  pillboxes  and  began  routing  out  the  German 
defenders.  Then  the  silence  was  broken  as  local  clashes  for  individual 
bunkers  began.  Most  of  the  enemy  defenders  quickly  yielded,  but  a 
few  had  to  be  dug  out  of  their  concrete  emplacements  the  hard  way. 
It  seemed  impossible,  but  the  3d  Battalion  achieved  complete  surprise. 
In  an  amazingly  short  time,  Company  I  was  atop  the  sheer  cliffs  of 
Irminer  Wald.  To  the  south,  could  be  heard  the  sounds  of  heavy 
fighting.  Obviously,  the  1st  Battalion  was  having  no  easy  time. 

As  Company  C  landed  on  the  enemy  side  of  the  river,  they  were 
greeted  by  bursts  of  machine-gun  fire;  in  short  order  a  furious  engage- 
ment was  under  way.  Lieutenant  Chalkley  urged  his  company  forward 
into  the  foggy  area  along  the  river  bank,  through  which  the  final  pro- 
tective line  fire  of  the  enemy  machine  guns  crossed  and  recrossed. 
Visibility  was  so  poor  it  was  impossible  for  the  Germans  manning  the 
pillboxes  to  pick  up  the  riflemen  as  they  filtered  forward.  Carefully 
watching  the  patterns  of  fire,  the  troops  advanced  in  individual  rushes 
between  bursts  of  fire.  Gradually  the  enemy  began  to  pound  the  area 
with  the  inevitable  mortar  and  artillery  fire  always  at  his  command. 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


The  assault  squads  closed  in  on  pillboxes  one  after  another.  It  was 
slow,  dangerous  work  but  the  attack  was  pressed  relentlessly.  Gradu- 
ally, as  more  and  more  pillboxes  were  taken  the  slender  beachhead 
expanded. 

Meanwhile,  on  the  far  shore,  Colonel  McClune  decided  to  personally 
check  the  progress  of  the  operation.  Leaving  his  CP  in  Ayl,  he  moved 
toward  the  river.  En  route  the  regimental  commander's  jeep  was 
caught  in  a  terrific  mortar  concentration  and  Colonel  McClune,  his 
driver,  Corporal  John  R.  Hills,  and  his  radio  operator,  Technician 
Fourth  Grade  Richard  J.  Scheibner  took  cover  in  the  ditches  along  the 
road.  Here  the  colonel  was  wounded  in  both  legs.  While  Corporals 
Hill  and  Scheibner  were  attempting  to  locate  a  medic,  the  regimental 
commander  was  wounded  again,  this  time  in  the  chest.  After  first  aid 
had  been  applied,  the  CO  was  evacuated  and  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Anderson,  the  regimental  executive  officer,  took  command  of  the  376th. 

The  enemy  fire  on  the  1st  Battalion's  crossing  site  increased  and 
shell  fragment  hits  on  the  assault  boats  materially  reduced  the  number 
of  craft  in  operating  condition.  As  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  C, 
under  Technical  Sergeant  Jack  C.  Wallace,  advanced  up  the  steep 
slope  of  the  hill  south  of  Ockf en  against  stubborn  resistance,  Company 
B  began  crossing  in  the  few  boats  that  remained  unscathed  by  the  in- 
tense concentrations  falling  on  the  crossing  site  and  in  the  river. 

Downstream,  Company  I  made  its  way  to  the  top  of  the  ridge  north 
of  Ockfen  and  Company  K  crossed,  closely  followed  by  Company  L. 
Harassing  machine-gun  fire  was  being  received  from  the  pillboxes 
south  of  Schoden;  but  due  to  the  fog  this  fire  was  inaccurate,  causing 
only  a  few  casualties.  Atop  the  hill  Company  I  captured  a  German 
messenger  bearing  orders  for  a  battery  of  Russian  76.2mm  guns. 
Using  this  prisoner  as  a  guide,  a  party  started  for  the  gun  positions. 
Totally  unaware  of  the  situation,  the  enemy  artillerymen  were  captured 
while  at  chow.  As  the  battalion  closed  on  top  of  Irminer  Wald,  it 
organized  a  perimeter  defense. 

Lieutenant  Colonel  Martin's  2d  Battalion,  charged  with  the  capture 
of  Ockfen,  followed  the  3d  Battalion,  crossing  at  the  northern  site. 
They  received  some  harassing  machine-gun  fire  and  a  few  rounds  of 
artillery.  However,  the  weight  of  the  enemy  fire  was  directed  against 
the  crossing  to  the  south.  Company  F  led,  closely  followed  by  the  re- 
mainder of  the  battalion  which  completed  crossing  by  0400  hours. 

The  2d  Battalion  planned  to  move  against  Ockfen  with  two  com- 
panies. Companies  E  and  F  were  chosen  for  the  mission  and  with  the 


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345 


latter  leading,  the  column  moved  up  the  river,  turned  east,  deployed 
and  approached  the  town.  Because  of  the  smoke  and  fog,  visibility 
was  limited  to  a  matter  of  feet.  Control  was  difficult  and  progress  slow. 
In  the  lower  units  there  were  several  instances  of  groups  returning  with 
prisoners  being  mistaken  for  the  enemy  and  fired  upon.  Little  by  little 
the  assault  moved  forward,  down  the  valley  and  into  the  town. 

With  the  coming  of  dawn  it  became  lighter  in  the  foggy  valley  and 
the  problem  of  clearing  Ockfen,  house  by  house,  was  simplified  in 
some  small  degree.  Suddenly,  at  0945  hours  when  part  of  the  town 
had  been  cleared,  the  rumble  of  tanks  was  heard.  The  noise  grew 
louder  and  enemy  armor  and  infantry  pushed  into  Ockfen  from  the 
south  and  east.  Throwing  lead  in  all  directions,  the  tanks  roared  for- 
ward. It  was  evidently  a  large  scale  offensive,  for  the  German  infantry 
was  supported  by  no  less  than  sixteen  panzers.  As  the  bazooka  teams 
went  into  action,  the  German  tankers  concentrated  fire  on  the  build- 
ings in  which  the  teams  had  taken  position,  attempting  to  blast  them 
into  oblivion.  The  armored  vehicles  roamed  the  streets  of  Ockfen 
pouring  fire  into  every  likely  looking  building.  In  the  face  of  this 
strong  counterattack,  orders  were  issued  for  a  withdrawal  to  the  hill 
north  of  town.  Here  the  companies  re-formed  for  a  new  attack. 

At  the  southern  crossing  site,  there  were  no  boats  in  operating  condi- 
tion by  the  time  Company  B  had  completed  its  crossing.  Company  A, 
held  at  the  road  junction  east  of  Ayl  while  Company  B  crossed,  was 
suffering  heavy  casualties  from  the  mortar  and  artillery  fire  falling  in 
the  area.  The  only  cover  available  was  the  water-filled  ditches  along 
the  road  and  in  these  the  troops  had  taken  shelter.  Lacking  a  means 
of  crossing  at  the  southern  site,  the  company  moved  north  to  follow 
the  2d  Battalion.  When  Company  A  arrived  at  the  northern  crossing 
at  0500  hours,  the  fog  was  still  extremely  heavy.  Guided  by  flash- 
lights, the  assault  boats  moved  to  the  west  bank  and  the  unit  loaded. 

Staff  Sergeant  Robert  J.  Pailliotet,  who  crossed  in  one  of  the  first 
boats,  was  anxiously  waiting  the  arrival  of  the  rest  of  his  platoon  when 
a  boat  nosed  ashore.  Its  occupants  were  a  bit  slow  about  disembark- 
ing, so  the  sergeant  reached  into  the  boat  and  grabbed  the  nearest  man 
by  the  arm,  exclaiming:  "Goddammit,  are  you  going  to  get  out  or  not?" 
The  sergeant  was  completely  unaware  he  was  addressing  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Miner,  his  battalion  commander. 

When  the  company  completed  crossing,  it  moved  south  along  the 
railroad  tracks  and  re-joined  the  1st  Battalion,  taking  positions  on  the 
right  flank,  next  to  the  river.  In  vain,  the  battalion  attempted  to  push 


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O 

no 

2 
c 

o 


o 
a 

o 
a 

c 
a 


c 
• 


o 


■  m 


K 

CO 


1 


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347 


forward  along  the  top  of  the  hill  which  was  their  initial  objective. 
Fire  from  the  line  of  pillboxes  on  the  eastern  end  of  the  flat,  open 
ridge  stopped  each  advance. 

Company  C  had  started  the  operation  with  only  two  officers  and 
both  of  these  were  wounded  before  the  end  of  the  day.  When  Lieu- 
tenant Chalkley  was  evacuated,  Technical  Sergeant  Thomas  D.  Huth- 
nance  took  command  of  the  company  directing  the  attack  until  Captain 
Malinski  could  come  forward  from  battalion  to  assume  command. 

With  the  foot  elements  of  the  regiment  across  the  river,  two  things 
remained  to  be  done.  Ockfen,  from  which  the  2d  Battalion  had  with- 
drawn, had  to  be  retaken  and  the  regimental  objective,  east  of  the 
town,  had  to  be  seized.  Careful  plans  were  laid  for  driving  the  enemy 
tanks  out  of  town  and  as  Lieutenant  Colonel  Martin's  men  moved 
against  Ockfen,  the  3d  Battalion  was  to  push  to  Scharfenberg  Ridge. 
By  way  of  preparation  for  the  new  attack,  eight  battalions  of  artillery 
ranging  in  caliber  from  105s  to  240s  serenaded  Ockfen  at  1345  hours. 
Their  TOT  hit  town  with  an  earth-shattering  crash  and  the  artillery- 
men kept  the  volume  of  fire  at  a  peak.  The  proposed  barrage  was  to 
be  of  ten  minutes'  duration,  but  after  half  that  time  had  elapsed  it 
became  necessary  to  issue  a  cease-fire  order  for  the  shelling  had  begun 
to  affect  the  troops  of  the  2d  Battalion  who  were  within  five  hundred 
yards  of  the  target.  Concerning  this  fire,  the  enemy  later  said:  "A 
tremendous  artillery  barrage  landed  on  the  town  literally  lifting  it  off 
its  foundation  and  piling  it  in  its  own  streets." 

Even  before  the  artillery  fire  had  completely  lifted,  the  leading  ele- 
ments of  Companies  E  and  F  were  working  their  way  down  the  hill 
toward  town.  As  they  advanced,  they  could  hear  those  German  tanks 
which  survived  the  TOT  pulling  out  to  the  east.  Clearing  the  town 
proved  a  simple  matter  for  the  artillerymen  had  done  their  work  well. 
Ockfen  was  a  shambles  and  several  of  the  ruined  buildings  had  started 
to  burn.  Of  the  enemy  remaining  alive,  most  were  shocked  and  dazed 
with  little  fight  left  in  them.  One  six-man  squad  of  Company  E  took 
seventy-one  prisoners  with  little  difficulty.  By  1630  hours  the  entire 
town  was  cleared.  Men  of  the  Mine  Platoon  of  Antitank  Company 
entered  town  close  behind  the  infantry  and  soon  had  the  eastern 
approaches  to  Ockfen  well  mined,  to  prevent  another  thrust  by  enemy 
armor.  A  heavy  volume  of  fire  was  received  from  the  pillboxes  south- 
east of  Ockfen  and  enemy  snipers  beyond  the  town  also  proved 
troublesome. 

Company  G,  which  had  remained  on  the  high  ground  to  the  north 


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as  the  rest  of  the  battalion  advanced  against  Ockfen,  was  to  protect 
the  northern  flank  of  the  battalion  after  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston's 
men  moved  to  seize  the  regimental  objective.  In  addition  Company 
G  was  to  take  the  castle  midway  down  the  winding  trail  which  led 
from  the  top  of  Irminer  Wald  to  Ockfen.  As  dusk  fell,  the  company 
less  a  security  detachment  moved  over  the  crest  of  the  hill  and  made 
its  way  through  the  vineyards  to  the  castle.  Having  witnessed  the 
artillery  preparation  on  the  town  below  them,  the  Germans  holding 
this  position  were  more  than  willing  to  surrender.  Following  this, 
Company  G  returned  to  the  hill  and  set  up  a  defensive  line  in  the 
woods  on  the  crest. 

With  Company  K  leading,  the  3d  Battalion  moved  against  the  regi- 
mental objective.  It  advanced  rapidly  along  the  top  of  the  wooded 
ridge,  in  single  file  with  only  light  flank  protection.  A  pillbox  on  the 
crest  was  taken  and  two  men  were  left  to  guard  the  prisoners  in  the 
box  as  the  battalion  pushed  forward.  Gradually,  the  ridge  dropped 
away  to  the  valley  below.  Early  in  the  evening,  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Thurston's  men  moved  across  this  valley  in  the  moonlight  and  ascended 
Scharfenberg  Ridge,  the  regimental  objective.  The  crest  of  this  second 
ridge  was  known  to  be  a  maze  of  enemy  pillboxes,  so  the  battalion 
commander  set  up  a  perimeter  defense  for  the  night  on  the  northern 
nose  of  the  high  ground. 

Remembering  the  days  in  Nennig,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  was 
deeply  concerned  with  the  necessity  of  keeping  open  a  route  of  supply 
to  the  rear.  With  this  in  mind,  early  the  following  morning,  Company 
L  was  sent  back  to  the  hill  north  of  Ockfen  and  charged  with  the 
mission  of  protecting  the  route  along  the  ridge.  This  proved  a  wise 
move,  for  when  the  other  two  battalions  were  unable  to  advance  and 
contact  the  3d,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston's  men  were  virtually 
isolated  on  the  regimental  objective,  with  only  this  slender  line  of 
communication  to  the  rear. 

The  following  three  days  proved  extremely  difficult  for  the  376th. 
Although  the  regiment  had  seized  all  the  assigned  hills  in  the  bridge- 
head area,  the  enemy  retained  observation  of  the  bridge  site  from  the 
pillboxes  south  of  Schoden.  These  boxes  employed  an  almost  con- 
tinuous rain  of  machine-gun  fire  which  punctured  pontons  and  riddled 
bridging  equipment  as  fast  as  the  engineers  hauled  it  to  the  river. 
Moreover,  the  enemy  artillery  was  doing  its  share  toward  making  the 
area  untenable.  Every  attempt  by  the  engineers  to  erect  a  bridge  met 
with  failure  and  heavy  casualties.  With  much  difficulty,  a  ferry  was 


Origiral  from 
UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


*  -  • 


"  *S 


Wtfti  i  1  /  '  '''■  •  r    '  ,  ,v* 

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Coms  of  fC  TOffon*  jffifjjjj  for  ffc«  3«f  Bortofton.  37oth  Inforffy,  ore  'o«h?d  to  pockkoordt  h/ 


Digitize  a  by 


Got  igle 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


matic  weapons.  Hitting  the  dirt  the  party  speedily  camouflaged  the 
wooden  containers.  On  the  return  trip,  wounded  were  brought  back 
over  this  same  precarious  route.  The  second  night,  after  the  carrying 
party  crossed  the  stream  in  the  valley,  it  was  hit  by  an  artillery  con- 
centration and  the  men  took  cover  in  an  antitank  ditch  which  they 
shared  with  a  general  officer  of  the  10th  Armored  Division  until 
things  quieted  down. 

After  establishing  its  lines  atop  the  ridge,  Company  G  dispatched 
patrols  which  encountered  Germans  at  every  turn.  By  some  odd  chance, 
the  3d  Battalion  had  slipped  through  the  enemy  defenses  in  what 
amounted  to  a  mass  infiltration.  On  the  24th,  Company  G  moved  for- 
ward to  clear  the  woods  atop  Irminer  Wald.  This  occupied  most  of 
the  day.  When  the  new  positions  were  assumed,  the  understrength 
Company  found  that  in  some  cases  foxholes  were  as  much  as  one  hun- 
dred yards  apart.  There  were  no  blankets  and  the  nights  were  still 
extremely  cold.  Food  was  scarce  and  captured  German  rations  were 
put  to  good  use. 

Meanwhile,  the  situation  of  those  elements  of  the  3d  Battalion  on 
the  regimental  objective  became  more  acute  as  the  enemy  directed  in- 
creasing amounts  of  artillery  and  mortar  fire  against  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Thurston's  men.  A  German  machine  gun  crew  infiltrated  between 
Companies  I  and  K,  effectively  severing  contact  between  the  two  units 
for  a  time.  Captain  Ralph  T.  Brown  of  Company  K  finally  worked 
his  way  into  a  good  firing  position  and  eliminated  this  enemy  group 
with  an  Ml. 

When  it  was  found  that  the  carrying  parties  were  unable  to  bring 
forward  sufficient  supplies  to  maintain  the  troops  on  Scharfenberg 
Ridge,  artillery  liaison  planes  were  pressed  into  service  for  vertical 
re-supply.  The  Cubs  made  trip  after  trip,  dropping  food,  ammunition, 
radio  batteries  and  medical  supplies.  As  the  planes  swooped  low  over 
the  American  positions  for  a  drop,  the  Germans  would  send  up  a  hail 
of  lead  from  every  available  weapon.  On  one  occasion,  two  ME- 109s 
jumped  the  aerial  column.  Only  the  maneuverability  and  slow  air 
speed  of  the  tiny  planes  protected  them  from  the  speedy  German 
fighters.  While  most  of  the  twenty  Piper  Cubs  that  participated  in 
these  operations  had  scars  to  prove  the  accuracy  of  the  enemy's  fire, 
not  a  single  plane  was  lost. 

On  the  afternoon  of  the  25  th,  Company  B  of  the  61  st  Armored 


tized  by  GOOgk 


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CT  376 


351 


Infantry  Battalion  was  attached  to  the  2d  Battalion.  Along  with  the 
3d  and  4th  Platoons  of  Company  F  it  was  ordered  to  attack  Schoden 
and  the  enemy  pillboxes  harassing  the  bridge  site  from  south  of  that 
town.  The  armored  infantry  company  worked  north  along  the  river 
and,  after  some  heavy  fighting,  forced  its  way  into  the  southern  edge 
of  the  objective.  To  the  right,  Captain  Frederick  D.  Standish  led  the 
Company  F  group  along  the  railroad  tracks  through  a  more  heavily 
fortified  area.  As  they  advanced,  their  right  flank  was  exposed  to  the 
fire  of  a  series  of  enemy  pillboxes  on  the  high  ground  east  of  Schoden. 
Progress  was  slow  and  only  after  bitter  fighting  were  the  first  pillboxes 
in  their  zone  taken.  Following  this,  attempts  were  made  to  reestablish 
contact  with  the  attached  company  on  the  left.  Just  about  dusk,  a 
column  of  Germans  was  seen  coming  down  the  railroad  tracks.  Know- 
ing that  the  armored  infantrymen  were  farther  to  the  north,  it  was 
assumed  the  Germans  were  PWs  being  moved  to  the  rear.  This 
column  was  almost  on  top  of  the  security  force  outposting  the  pillbox 
in  which  about  half  of  the  party  was  resting,  before  the  group  realized 
that  the  Germans  were  not  prisoners.  Fighting  developed  at  extremely 
close  quarters  and  the  numerically  superior  enemy  breached  the  Ameri- 
can defenses.  The  Germans  surrounded  the  pillbox  and  Captain 
Standish 's  repeated  attempts  to  fight  through  the  enemy  and  get  his 
men  out  of  the  surrounded  box  were  of  no  avail. 

Meanwhile,  the  1st  and  2d  Platoons  of  Company  F  were  in  Ockfen. 
Having  been  heavily  hit  by  enemy  artillery  the  previous  night,  they 
were  relieved  late  in  the  afternoon  for  a  short  rest.  When  word  was 
received  that  Captain  Standish  and  the  remainder  of  the  company  were 
in  trouble,  the  platoons  organized  and  proceeded  north.  A  small  se- 
curity group  moved  up  the  east  side  of  the  railroad  to  protect  the 
right  flank,  while  the  bulk  of  the  small  force  advanced  west  of  the 
tracks.  The  relief  party  succeeded  in  breaking  through  the  German 
perimeter  and  fought  its  way  up  a  communication  trench  to  the  Ameri- 
can held  pillbox.  The  group  then  discovered  that  it  was  against  the 
rear  of  a  huge  box;  facing  a  blank,  concrete  wall.  Both  sides  of  the 
fortification  were  receiving  continuous  streams  of  grazing  machine-gun 
fire  from  five  or  more  weapons  which  spelled  each  other  in  raking  the 
box.  Attempts  were  made  to  talk  to  the  trapped  men,  but  it  was  im- 
possible to  establish  contact  through  walls  of  concrete  six  feet  thick. 

At  the  same  time,  the  enemy  was  working  on  the  front  of  the  pillbox 
in  an  effort  to  induce  the  trapped  men  to  surrender.  When  this  failed, 
the  Germans  employed  a  bazooka  which  did  no  damage  to  the  well 
constructed  fortification.  A  large  demolition  charge  was  next  placed  in 


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an  embrasure  of  the  pillbox  by  the  enemy,  and  at  0145  hours  there 
was  a  terrific  explosion.  Groans  and  cries  of  agony  followed.  There 
was  a  period  of  silence  followed  by  the  sound  of  movement  north 
along  the  railroad  tracks.  Repeated  attempts  by  the  relief  party  to 
move  around  the  position  were  stopped  cold  by  the  enemy's  grazing 
fire.  At  0300  hours,  the  flank  security  of  the  relief  party  was  forced 
from  position  and  nothing  remained  but  for  the  1st  and  2d  Platoons 
to  withdraw. 

Months  later,  after  the  termination  of  hostilities,  First  Sergeant 
Bower,  in  a  personal  letter  to  Staff  Sergeant  Shafto  of  Company  F, 
gave  a  complete  account  of  this  action  from  the  viewpoint  of  the  de- 
fenders of  the  pillbox.  The  following  is  quoted  from  this  letter. 

32  W.  Van  Buren  St. 
Oswego,  New  York 
13  June  45 

Dear  Harold: 

Received  your  letter  today  and  I  sure  was  waiting  for  it.  Thought  maybe 
you  had  writers  cramp.  Of  course,  you're  excused  this  time,  as  I  know  you 
must  be  busy. 

Well,  Shafto,  it  makes  me  feel  better  now  to  hear  that  you  tried  to  get  us 
out  of  the  pillbox  that  fateful  night.  I  will  tell  you  just  what  happened. 

The  first  thing,  we  did  not  have  enough  security  out  and  what  was  out, 
was  not  out  far  enough  from  the  CP  ...  I  could  not  get  communication 
with  the  battalion  at  that  time  as  the  radio  [SCR-300]  was  smashed  by  a 
grenade  and  the  operator  was  hit  in  the  stomach.  I  had  talked  to  Colonel 
Martin  and  told  him  they  were  attacking  from  the  right  and  front,  down  the 
railroad.  We  had  quite  a  few  casualties  and  no  aid  man.  The  artillery  officer 
also  was  hit.  Our  men  did  not  get  out  in  time  ...  as  they  left  the  pillbox 
they  were  hit.  I  don't  know  who  was  killed.  There  were  some,  as  the  bodies 
were  outside  the  pillbox.  We  had  about  twenty-two  or  twenty-five  in  the  pill- 
box. You  know  they  never  got  us  until  0130.  Our  ammunition  gave  out  but 
we  would  not  let  them  in  the  pillbox.  They  blew  two  holes  in  it  and  threw 
concussion  grenades  at  us  all  night.  The  last  thing  they  threw  at  us  stunned 
us  and  we  never  fired  a  shot  after  it  went  off  and  they  came  storming  in. 
I  sure  would  have  liked  to  know  what  it  was.  You  know  after  our  300  radio 
went  out,  I  tried  to  contact  Company  CO  with  536  every  half  hour  up  to 
0100 — I  tried,  but  to  no  avail.  They  had  both  entrances  to  the  pillbox  covered 
— we  were  holed  up  like  rats.  By  the  way  I  have  said  many  times  since,  if 
I  ever  run  into  the  medic,  a  T/5 — can't  think  of  his  name — I  would  smack 
him.  We  had  to  tear  our  undershirts  for  bandages  .  .  .  when  we  needed  him, 
he  was  not  there.  It  was  a  hell  of  a  mess,  Harold,  men  crying  and  screaming. 
I  had  a  hard  time  as  most  of  them  wanted  to  give  up,  and  I  thought  sure 
we  would  have  been  freed  from  that  trap  .  .  .  All  we  had  left  was  a  few 
tracers  when  they  blew  that  last  hole  in  the  pillbox. 


tized  by  GOOgk 


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CT  376 


353 


As  soon  as  we  came  out  of  the  pillbox,  they  knocked  off  our  helmets, 
searched  us  and  stripped  us  of  everything.  Mortar  fire  was  hitting  all  around. 
One  went  off  just  six  feet  from  where  I  was  standing.  Two  Krauts  beside 
me  got  it  and  I  dove  into  a  trench  right  on  top  of  the  Krauts.  They  raised 
hell.  I  guess  maybe  I  hurt  them,  as  though  I  cared.  It  is  just  like  a  dream 
that  you  want  to  forget. 

I  could  have  escaped  the  first  night,  but  we  had  to  carry  our  wounded  .  .  . 
even  then  we  did  not  get  half  of  them.  I  guess  they  [the  Germans]  carried 
them  out.  There  were  a  lot  of  Krauts  all  through  the  woods  in  the  rear.  We 
hiked  three  days  and  two  nights  back  and  forth  through  the  woods,  never 
on  any  roads.  It  was  all  hell.  Nothing  to  eat  or  smoke. 

Do  you  know,  Shafto,  you  say  I  am  too  old  for  the  Infantry.  Well,  I  am. 
But,  as  a  prisoner  I  stood  up  better  than  the  young  ones.  And  I  had  those 
shoepacs  and  they  just  about  ruined  my  feet.  Never  got  any  shoes  until  after 
we  were  liberated.  You  know  my  socks  wore  out  and  I  was  wearing  them 
with  no  socks  at  all.  There  were  quite  a  few  of  us  in  the  same  condition. 
Sure  was  hell,  as  we  were  hiking  all  the  time  I  was  a  prisoner  and  nothing 
to  eat.  I  passed  out  twice  but  a  lot  of  the  boys  passed  out  every  day.  Krauts 
would  wait  until  we  came  to  and  then  it  was  up  on  your  feet  and  catch  up 
to  the  rear  of  the  column.  We  were  strafed  three  times  by  our  planes.  Guess 
I  must  have  had  a  horseshoe  .  .  .to  get  back  without  a  scratch,  outside  of  an 
infected  foot.  Still  got  scars  from  it.  Am  having  a  nice  time  here,  peace  and 
quiet.  Don't  let  anybody  tell  you  this  isn't  God's  country  .  .  . 

Well,  Harold,  I  never  was  much  of  a  hand  in  writing  letters,  as  you  know, 
but  I  could  write  pages  .  .  .  Give  my  regards  to  all  of  the  boys  that  are  left. 
Also  officers,  Colonel  Martin,  Captains  Whitman  and  Standish  in  particular. 

By  the  way,  took  a  fit  in  the  pillbox  that  night.  He  was  a  mess. 

Took  two  of  us  to  hold  him  down  and  he  was  throwing  up  all  over — what 
a  mess.  He  finally  came  out  of  it.  You  know,  Shafto,  I  could  not  give  up 
all  that.  Am  taking  a  double  shot  of  Four  Roses  now  in  remembrance  of  our 
many  good  times  together  .  .  .  Hope  to  have  some  more  as  soon  as  time 
permits.  How  about  it,  old  boy?  Another  thing,  your  letter  sure  made  me 
feel  good  .  .  .  Don't  stop  writing. 

Sincerely, 

TOP 

P.  S.  Excuse  writing  as  I  am  nervous  as  hell.  Don't  forget  our  reunion  in  New 
York  City.  Could  never  find  out  anything  about  McGuinness.  I  guess  he  is 
done  for,  may  God  bless  him,  sure  was  a  good  sport  and  a  damn  good  soldier. 

During  these  operations,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Martin,  the  battalion 
commander,  and  Major  John  R.  Dossenbach,  the  executive  officer,  were 
both  wounded  while  working  forward  to  check  on  the  progress  of  the 
attack.  Captain  Standish,  in  some  unknown  manner,  made  his  way 
from  the  battle  position,  through  the  German  line,  while  in  a  complete 
state  of  shock  brought  on  by  days  of  exhaustive  fighting  during  which 
he  drove  himself  relentlessly.  He  was  found  wandering  about  in  a 
dazed  condition. 


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For  the  regiment  this  was  a  period  of  low  ebb.  On  the  night  of  the 
25th,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Anderson  informed  General  Malony  of  the 
situation  existing  within  his  command  in  hope  that  Division  might  be 
able  to  extend  some  help,  even  though  the  376th  was  still  attached  to 
the  10th  Armored  Division.  The  message  read: 

Our  lines  are  so  extended  that  we  cannot  prevent  enemy  infiltration.  Enemy 
occupied  pillboxes  still  exist  inside  our  bridgehead.  All  troops  have  been  com- 
mitted since  the  first  day  of  the  operation.  I  have  no  reserve.  One  company 
of  armored  infantry  has  been  attached  temporarily.  Except  for  two  platoons 
of  tank  destroyers  on  the  friendly  side  of  the  river,  we  have  no  support  of 
heavy  direct  fire  weapons.  It  is  expected  that  these  two  platoons  will  be  with- 
drawn tomorrow.  Until  1900  this  date,  all  evacuation  and  supply  has  been 
hand-carried.  One  weasel  and  seven  jeeps  may  be  able  to  cross  tonight.  At 
present,  all  ferry  service  is  out  of  order.  I  expect  that  all  heavy  trucks,  prime- 
movers,  cannon  and  artillery  weapons  will  have  to  cross  the  Saar  at  your 
bridgehead.  If  so,  this  will  be  a  critical  period  for  the  infantry  battalions,  and 
they  must  be  reinforced  and  supplied  by  another  unit.  If  we  cross  all  vehicles 
here  it  will  take  two  to  three  clays  and  place  the  vehicles  in  an  area  getting 
observed  artillery  fire.  In  our  beachhead  we  have  captured  about  sixty  per 
cent  of  the  pillboxes,  one  88mm  gun,  one  battery  of  mountain  artillery,  and 
452  prisoners.  Estimated  killed,  seven  hundred.  Since  the  21st  of  February 
I  have  lost  14  officers  and  161  enlisted  men.  I  am  understrength  47  officers 
and  506  enlisted  men.  I  recommend  that  this  combat  team  be  passed  through, 
if  the  94th  Division  is  to  continue  the  attack  to  the  north.  If  the  94th  Divi- 
sion is  to  protect  the  Saarburg  crossing,  I  recommend  that  this  combat  team 
be  reinforced  to  hold  its  present  position.  Such  reinforcement  should  include 
tank  destroyers  and  infantry. 

The  following  day  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  E,  supported  by  one 
tank  was  ordered  to  retake  the  area  in  which  the  platoons  of  Company 
F  had  been  overwhelmed,  and  conduct  a  thorough  search  for  any 
personnel  still  holding  out.  Without  too  much  trouble  the  first  pillbox 
tackled  was  taken,  but  a  second  position  put  up  a  stiff  fight.  The 
Germans  defending  the  area  directed  the  fire  of  all  their  available 
weapons  against  the  supporting  tank.  When  the  tank  commander  was 
wounded,  Technician  Fifth  Grade  Paul  E.  Ramsey,  fearlessly  expos- 
ing himself  to  the  intense  enemy  fire,  dashed  to  the  vehicle,  admin- 
istered aid  to  the  injured  man  and  then  took  command  of  the  tank. 
He  directed  its  fire  against  the  weapons  holding  up  the  advance  and 
radioed  the  situation  to  the  rear.  In  the  last  box  taken  by  the  platoon, 
one  soldier  of  Company  F  was  found.  By  this  time  the  strength  of  the 
attackers  was  so  low,  it  was  impossible  to  hold  the  bitterly  contested 
position.  Therefore,  the  remnants  of  the  platoon  moved  back  to  the 
original  lines  held  by  the  battalion. 


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CT  376 


355 


^  On  the  morning  of  the  25th,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Anderson  had  re- 
ceived orders  to  launch  a  determined  attack  to  the  south,  to  link  up  with 
the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  in  the  vicinity  of  Beurig.  This  would  join  the 
two  bridgeheads,  thus  eliminating  the  southern  flank  of  the  376th 
Infantry  and  clearing  the  Saarburg  area  of  German  fire  to  permit  the 
construction  of  a  bridge  connecting  Saarburg  and  Beurig.  Obviously, 
the  1st  Battalion  would  have  to  launch  this  attack  since  it  was  in 
position  south  of  Ockfen.  When  the  remnants  of  Company  A  were 
concentrated,  the  rest  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's  battalion  was 
stretched  to  the  breaking  point  along  its  rugged  front.  The  company 
attacked  south  along  the  river  only  to  be  met  by  a  hail  of  machine-gun 
fire  from  American  positions  west  of  the  Saar.  When  the  gunners 
realized  their  mistake  and  lifted  fire,  the  company  moved  down  the 
hill  toward  the  enemy-held  pillboxes  in  the  valley.  Tank  destroyers 
across  the  river  opened  fire  against  the  German  positions,  and  Lieu- 
tenant Edwin  R.  Flynn,  leading  the  group,  was  wounded.  He  hobbled 
back  to  battalion,  using  his  carbine  as  a  cane,  after  Staff  Sergeant 
Edward  J.  Macejak  had  assumed  command.  The  assault  party  then 
pushed  forward  to  the  side  of  the  first  box  while  the  TDs  across  the 
river  continued  to  assist  the  operation  with  their  fire.  To  add  to  the 
difficulty  of  the  situation,  the  Germans  manning  the  pillbox  under 
attack  called  for  mortar  fire.  With  his  bazooka,  Private  First  Class 
Robert  S.  Scheer  scored  a  direct  hit  on  one  of  the  embrasures,  injuring 
an  enemy  machine  gunner  and  destroying  his  weapon.  The  box  then 
surrendered  and  the  company  moved  south  where  more  pillboxes  were 
taken.  When  darkness  fell  a  defensive  line  was  formed  where  the 
Ockfen-Beurig  road  crossed  the  railroad  tracks. 

The  next  morning  the  entire  1st  Battalion  jumped  off  at  0500  hours 
encountering  only  light  resistance.  Unknown  to  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Miner's  men,  the  Germans  had  retreated  during  the  night  following 
the  advance  of  American  armored  columns  into  Irsch,  through  the 
zone  of  the  rest  of  the  Division.  The  advance  continued  and  the  bat- 
talion pushed  into  the  northern  edge  of  Beurig.  House  by  house,  the 
search  of  the  town  began.  The  battalion  rounded  up  a  few  Germans 
and  about  noon  made  contact  with  Major  O'Neil's  men,  who  had 
entered  Beurig  from  the  south. 

When  the  vehicles  of  the  10th  Armored  Division  moved  south  to 
cross  the  treadway  bridges  at  Taben  and  Serrig,  the  armored  infantry 
battalions  were  sent  into  the  376th  bridgehead  to  clear  the  pillbox 
area  southeast  of  Ockfen  which  had  held  up  the  advance  of  the  1st 


Original  from 
UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


CT  376 


357 


and  3d  Battalions  of  the  376th.  The  armored  infantry  was  then  to  con- 
tinue the  attack  and  join  the  tankers  in  Irsch.  It  was  this  action  that 
permitted  the  concentration  of  the  1st  Battalion  for  the  attack  to 
Beurig. 

While  the  3d  Battalion  on  Scharfenberg  Ridge  was  waiting  to  be 
passed  through  by  the  armored  infantry,  an  enemy  patrol  approached 
from  Company  K's  rear.  It  was  almost  upon  the  company  before  it 
realized  they  were  Germans.  At  point-blank  range,  the  troops  opened 
fire,  killing  or  wounding  all  of  the  enemy  party.  Later  the  armored 
infantry  moved  into  the  area,  checked  on  the  situation  and  pushed 
through  the  woods  west  of  Hill  426  on  the  southern  nose  of  Scharfen- 
berg Ridge.  This  released  a  good  deal  of  the  pressure  on  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Thurston's  battalion.  As  the  armored  columns  continued  east 
through  Irsch  the  situation  further  improved.  For  the  first  time  in 
three  days,  the  battalion  had  only  one  front  with  which  to  concern 
itself.  Late  in  the  afternoon  of  the  26th,  American  troops  swarmed 
up  from  the  south.  It  was  the  3d  Battalion,  302d.  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Thurston's  exhausted  companies  were  soon  relieved  by  the  3d  Bat- 
talion, 301st,  which  came  forward  from  Beurig  for  this  purpose. 

During  these  operations,  Companies  G  and  L  had  doggedly  held  the 
hill  north  of  Ockfen  and  the  supply  route  along  the  ridge.  The  enemy 
constantly  directed  heavy  mortar  and  artillery  barrages  against  their 
positions.  On  one  occasion,  an  American  strongpoint  was  pounded  all 
night  and  half  of  its  twenty-two  defenders  were  wounded.  On  another 
occasion,  two  men  of  Company  G's  machine-gun  section  trailed  a 
seven-man  German  patrol  through  the  darkness  and  succeeded  in 
capturing  it. 

On  the  27th  of  February,  the  1st  Battalion  passed  through  Company 
L  and  the  positions  of  Company  E  in  the  area  along  the  river.  The 
battalion  attacked  north,  seized  Schoden  and  relieved  Company  B  of 
the  6lst  Armored  Infantry  Battalion  from  the  positions  in  which  they 
had  been  isolated  for  two  days.  Forty-two  pillboxes  were  taken  during 
this  drive. 

By  this  time  the  strength  of  the  1st  Battalion  was  extremely  low  and 
in  Company  A  it  became  necessary  to  use  men  of  the  Weapons  Platoon 
as  riflemen.  When  two  of  these  men  detailed  to  Staff  Sergeant  W.  T. 
Pillow's  platoon  were  captured  by  a  German  patrol,  Sergeant  Pillow, 
with  the  remainder  of  the  platoon  covering  his  movement,  slipped 
down  a  communication  trench,  overtook  the  withdrawing  Germans 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


CT  376 


359 


and  recaptured  his  men.  He  then  talked  the  Germans  into  arranging 
the  surrender  of  the  rest  of  their  unit,  and  marched  back  with  an  entire 
enemy  platoon  under  surveillance. 

The  following  day  the  battalion's  advance  continued;  by  nightfall, 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's  men  were  on  the  high  ground  overlooking 
Wiltingen.  In  two  days  the  battalion  had  advanced  two  thousand  yards 
and  taken  thirteen  pillboxes. 

On  the  28th  the  3d  Battalion,  after  a  good  night's  rest  in  Ockfen, 
passed  through  Company  G  to  push  across  the  open  ridge  into  the 
woods.  By  late  in  the  afternoon  they  were  abreast  of  the  1st  Battalion 
and  in  position  overlooking  the  Wiltingen-Oberemmel  road.  Across 
the  road,  and  the  valley  through  which  it  ran,  there  rose  a  steep  hill 
with  a  ridgelike  crest  paralleling  the  battalion's  front.  The  south  side 
of  the  slope,  facing  the  battalion,  was  terraced  and  planted  with  vine- 
yards. In  the  middle  of  one  of  these  was  a  long  bare  swath  cut  by  a 
P-47,  which  lay  in  a  crumpled  heap  where  it  had  crashed.  This  hill, 
called  le  Scharzberg,  was  the  battalion's  immediate  objective  and  had 
to  be  occupied  that  night.  A  platoon  of  Company  K  and  a  section  of 
heavy  machine  guns  were  assigned  the  task.  The  designated  group 
made  its  way  up  the  steep  slope  and  was  just  approaching  the  crest 
when  enemy  forces  on  the  hill  opened  fire.  Hastily,  one  of  the  HMGs 
went  into  action,  hitting  a  German  carrying  a  load  of  flares.  He  went 
up  in  a  multi-colored  blaze  of  light.  After  a  short  battle,  the  position 
was  taken  and  all  its  defenders  with  the  exception  of  one  officer  cap- 
tured. This  officer  escaped  down  the  reverse  slope  and  a  short  time 
later  mortar  fire  began  to  fall.  It  was  impossible  to  dig  in  on  the  rocky 
crest,  but  since  the  ground  had  to  be  held,  the  men  remained  on  the 
exposed  position.  The  shelling  continued  and  casualties  were  frequent. 
In  an  attempt  to  silence  the  enemy  weapons,  an  artillery  observer  was 
sent  to  the  crest.  He  and  his  radio  operator  were  soon  wounded  and 
both  had  to  be  evacuated.  A  second  observer  came  forward,  but  all 
attempts  to  silence  the  German  mortars  proved  unsuccessful.  On  the 
following  morning  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  climbed  the  hill  to 
congratulate  personally  each  man  on  the  position  for  his  splendid 
stand.  Of  the  thirty-eight  men  who  had  taken  this  high  ground  less 
than  half  came  through  the  night  unharmed. 

On  the  morning  of  the  1st  of  March  a  patrol  from  the  A&P  Platoon 
was  sent  out  to  contact  Company  L.  Taking  a  wrong  turn,  this  party 
moved  into  Wiltingen  where  they  encountered  Germans.  As  soon  as 
the  mistake  was  realized  the  group  withdrew.  Following  this,  a  patrol 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


360  THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 

from  Company  K  was  sent  into  the  town.  They  entered  it  as  loud 
speakers  west  of  the  Saar  began  blasting  surrender  orders  to  the  people 
of  Wiltingen.  The  American  Psychological  Warfare  personnel  in- 
formed the  local  inhabitants  that  their  situation  was  hopeless;  an 
American  armored  division  was  in  their  rear  and  all  lines  of  supply 
and  communication  had  been  severed.  As  signs  of  surrender,  the  towns- 
people were  instructed  to  display  white  flags  from  their  houses  and 
report  to  the  village  church  without  delay.  If  they  did  not  capitulate, 
they  were  informed  that  their  town  would  be  blasted  into  rubble.  As 
German  civilians  flocked  into  the  streets,  Wiltingen  was  occupied  with- 
out a  single  shot  being  fired.  While  the  Company  K  patrol  searched 
prisoners  in  the  center  of  town,  Company  E  entered  from  the  south 
where  Major  Dossenbach's  battalion  had  passed  through  the  1st 
Battalion. 

To  the  north  of  town  was  a  maze  of  pillboxes;  interrogation  of 
prisoners  taken  revealed  that  these  positions  were  manned.  Sergeant 
Rao  persuaded  a  PW  from  the  German  company  manning  these  forti- 
fications to  talk  his  companions  into  surrendering.  Both  Companies 
E  and  G  moved  forward,  and  by  the  end  of  the  day  were  1,500  yards 
beyond  Wiltingen,  having  cleared  twenty-five  pillboxes. 

The  3d  Battalion  also  continued  its  advance.  Outside  Oberemmel  it 
encountered  the  90th  Reconnaissance  Squadron,  which  was  maintaining 
contact  between  the  302d  and  376th  Infantry.  Then  the  battalion 
pushed  into  the  woods,  clearing  out  snipers  and  machine-gun  positions. 
Their  objective  was  Kommlingen.  The  night  was  so  dark  the  troops 
had  to  clasp  hands  to  keep  from  losing  each  other.  When  they  reached 
the  far  edge  of  the  woods  they  halted  until  daylight.  In  the  darkness 
a  squad  of  Company  K  took  position  in  the  area  of  one  of  the  squads 
of  Company  L,  with  neither  aware  of  the  others  presence. 

On  the  morning  of  the  2d,  while  the  battalion  was  preparing  to 
attack  Kommlingen,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston,  Captain  Di  Lor- 
enzo, and  nine  men  of  Company  L  entered  the  town.  There  was  no 
resistance  and,  by  radio,  the  command  group  instructed  the  battalion 
to  move  forward  at  once.  Meanwhile,  a  patrol  from  Company  G 
entered  Kommlingen  from  the  northwest  to  make  contact  with  the 
CO  of  the  3d  Battalion  and  his  reconnaissance  party.  The  remainder 
of  the  2d  Battalion  continued  forward  and  Company  F  cleared  the 
Filzen  Peninsula.  During  the  day  Major  Dossenbach's  battalion  took 
a  bag  of  fifty-nine  prisoners  and  was  approaching  Konz-Karthaus 
before  it  was  halted  by  heavy  fire. 


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turret:  known  to  the  Ckrnnu^  as  No.  111.  In  these  thrust^  Company 


eng^e  ?!h  wemy  in  CoMZtkuofr  He  convinced'  rhemol  the  hope- 
Jessness  nf  ihcH  position  ^n^i  ne^otiatetj  a  mttmrdgi  The  Germans 
^esd  feut  made  one  stipulation,  They  would :  capiralfatei  hut  to  no 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


362 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


Commander  when  he  investigated  it  as  "a  sunken  concrete  submarine." 
It  housed  a  50mm  belt-fed  mortar  capable  of  putting  more  than  twenty- 
five  rounds  in  the  air  at  one  time.  This  box  was  three  stories  deep, 
equipped  with  Diesel  motors  which  supplied  light  and  heat.  No.  Ill 
had  shower  facilities  and  boasted  both  hot  and  cold  running  water. 
Equipped  with  shoulder  stocks  for  accuracy,  its  machine-guns  had 
perfect  fields  of  observation  and  grazing  fire  in  all  directions.  It  was 
the  most  elaborate  pillbox  ever  to  fall  to  the  Division. 

When  the  1st  Battalion  was  passed  through  by  Major  Dossenbach's 
men  on  the  morning  of  the  1st,  it  moved  back  into  Schoden  where  its 
opportunity  for  rest  was  short  lived.  The  10th  Armored  Division 
needed  infantry  assistance  in  Trier  and  shortly  after  midnight  the  bat- 
talion started  forward  by  motor.  It  moved  east  and  then  north  through 
the  night,  over  second-grade  roads,  to  outflank  Trier  and  strike  at  the 
city  from  the  east.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's  men  were  to  fight 
through  to  a  task  force  from  CCA,  which  had  forced  its  way  into 
Trier  seizing  one  of  the  vital  river  bridges  across  the  Moselle.  Exact 
whereabouts  of  the  tankers  was  unknown. 

Missing  the  turnoff  at  Pellingen,  the  kitchen  train,  which  was  bring- 
ing up  the  rear  of  the  column,  went  sailing  down  the  ridge  road  to 
Trier.  It  entered  the  outskirts  of  town,  stopping  a  few  hundred  yards 
from  an  enemy  manned  roadblock  which  was  covered  by  the  fire  of 
an  88mm  gun.  Discovering  its  mistake,  the  kitchen  train  withdrew. 

The  rest  of  the  battalion  rolled  into  the  little  town  of  Irsch,  a  few 
miles  east  of  Trier,  and  began  detrucking  as  dawn  broke.  A  10th 
Armored  Division  messenger  located  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  at 
about  this  time  and  handed  him  orders  to  "just  keep  going/'  Company 
A,  leading  the  column,  was  instructed  to  proceed  straight  into  Trier. 
The  men  were  cold  and  tired  from  the  all-night  ride,  but  marching 
soon  started  the  blood  circulating  again.  Not  knowing  what  might  lie 
ahead,  the  leading  elements  entered  the  city  cautiously.  There  was 
practically  no  opposition  and  the  tempo  of  the  advance  quickened. 
As  the  column  pushed  into  town,  a  few  men  were  detailed  to  make 
a  cursory  search  of  each  house.  This  soon  proved  impractical;  the 
company  advanced  with  a  file  on  either  side  of  the  street. 

As  Company  A  approached  a  bridge  over  the  railroad  tracks  in  Trier, 
a  reconnaissance  patrol  was  sent  forward  to  investigate  the  span.  It 
located  a  German  automatic  weapon  in  position  and  while  one  of  the 
patrol  was  endeavoring  to  talk  the  machine-gun  crew,  on  the  far  side 
of  the  bridge,  into  surrendering,  a  recent  replacement  let  go  a  shot. 


Origiral  from 
UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


m 


; 

Kg 


*H  >:  tank  .roropany  ef  the  HHh  -A'rmowd 
located  in  the  vicinity..;  By  Hii^  mean^  the  machine  gun  was  eHinioate4< 


mm  19  a,  Ma.ch  Z.  i Vn.'came  quke  mtinglv  iron,  the  jg  of. the 
enemy,  So'u  'u^..nvi«//  Herman  Goenng,  >?<  ,:u.  (.vk-vro,qi»tiC>q  f|jfe 
ine  his-  f.apfutr  sUteJ- 

>:  .".  '      ■       |  .  ■  I      ■:"  ■ 

When  tji.c fkit  bt«1c  m  the  Siegfried  I-me  was  TOafijl  rtc-ar  '-AadVeft,  Tier 

*  iiuf  f-KHt  the  hreakthrouKi'  ntar  Trrsvf,  a.id 
•  Wc  could  nor  believe.  r.lj.it  Hkw.  tomffc> 
^.kthrpugh  Meat  Trier  xvas  particularly  do 


Digitize,  by  G<X  igfe  UNIVERSES  OF MICHIGAN 


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Chapter  36:  LAMPADEN  RIDGE 


THE  MORNING  OF  MARCH  3,  1945  found  the  94th  holding 
a  vastly  extended  bridgehead  across  the  Saar.  Attached  to  the 
division,  the  3d  Cavalry  Group  held  the  left  flank  from  Tarforst 
to  Franzenheim;  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  was  in  the  vicinity  of  Lam- 
paden;  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  held  Schomerich,  Hen  tern  and  Bald- 
ringen;  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  was  in  position  around  Zerf  and  Ober 
Zerf;  the  5th  Ranger  Battalion  continued  to  hold  Hill  3;  the  1st  Bat- 
talion, 302d,  was  located  between  the  Rangers  and  the  Ruwer  River; 
the  1st  Battalion,  301st,  perched  on  Hocker  Hill;  the  2d  Battalion, 
301st,  held  the  extreme  right  of  the  line  down  to  the  Saar.  The  94th 
Reconnaissance  Troop  patrolled  the  area  south  of  Taben,  between  the 
bridgehead  and  the  left  of  the  26th  Division,  maintaining  defensive 
positions  west  of  the  Saar  and  in  the  Saarlautern  bridgehead.  To  the 
north  of  General  Malony's  zone,  the  10th  Armored  Division  continued 
its  drive  northeast  from  Trier  along  the  banks  of  the  Moselle. 

Along  the  Division  front  enemy  activity  was  comparatively  light. 
German  patrols  hit  the  line  at  several  points,  but  in  all  cases  were 
repelled.  There  was  a  fair  amount  of  artillery,  mortar  and  rocket  fire 
within  the  Division  area;  Taben,  the  Taben  bridge  site,  Hocker 
Hill,  Zerf  and  Lampaden  received  the  heaviest  concentrations.  All 
along  the  long  front,  the  troops  of  the  Division  improved  their  posi- 
tions: Foxholes  were  deepened,  weapons  cleaned  and  checked,  mines 
laid  and  wire  entanglements  erected.  Reconnaissance  parties  probed  the 
enemy  lines,  examined  the  banks  of  the  Ruwer  River  and  maintained 
contact  with  the  units  to  their  flanks. 

Meanwhile  the  Germans  were  frantically  organizing  their  defenses 
and  forming  Kampfgruppe  units  from  the  shattered  remnants  of  the 
4l6th  Infantry  Division,  the  256th  Volksgrenadier  Division  and  surviv- 
ing personnel  of  the  various  fortress  battalions,  reinforcement  battal- 
ions, alarm  companies  and  rear  echelon  units  that  had  been  thrown 
into  the  fray.  Most  of  the  2d  Mountain  Division  had  arrived  from  the 
Bitche  area  and  was  sent  directly  into  the  lines. 

Late  in  the  afternoon  of  the  3d,  Company  L  of  the  301st  captured 
two  prisoners  from  whom  it  learned  that  the  enemy  planned  an 
attack  on  Hill  5  the  following  morning.  These  PWs  were  from  the 
13th  Company  of  the  137th  Mountain  Regiment,  2d  Mountain  Divi- 
sion. They  claimed  the  attack  would  be  launched  from  along  the  Zerf- 
Weiskirchen  road  by  the  III  Battalion  of  their  regiment,  supported  by 
20mm,  75mm  and  105mm  artillery  weapons.  Later  in  the  day  Com- 
pany I  took  two  prisoners  who  confirmed  this  story,  and  Company  K 


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captured  a  man  who  revealed  the  attack  was  scheduled  for  0330  hours. 
Major  O'Neill  alerted  his  entire  command  and  at  the  same  time  in- 
formed Division  of  the  information  he  had  gained.  Company  L  on 
Hill  5  was  in  serious  condition.  It  was  holding  the  German  objective 
with  a  scant  fifty-four  men  and  for  the  past  three  days  had  been  con- 
tinuously pounded  by  enemy  artillery.  All  three  understrength  platoons 
were  dug  in  on  the  southern  slope  of  the  hill  in  a  crescent-like  position, 
reinforced  with  the  remains  of  the  company's  Weapons  Platoon  and  a 
section  of  HMGs.  Company  L  had  received  about  forty  reinforce- 
ments, but  the  bulk  of  this  group  had  been  held  in  Zerf  under  the 
first  sergeant,  since  the  constant  rain  of  enemy  fire  on  the  forward 
positions  made  the  construction  of  additional  emplacements  impractical. 

As  casualties  occurred  on  the  hill,  reinforcements  sufficient  to  keep 
all  foxholes  fully  manned  were  brought  forward.  During  the  night 
of  the  3d,  both  heavy  machine  guns  and  one  of  the  lights  were  knocked 
out.  In  addition,  in  the  Weapons  Platoon  there  remained  only  one 
of  the  three  60mm  mortars.  Lieutenant  Henley,  who  was  in  command 
of  the  company,  moved  from  foxhole  to  foxhole  encouraging  and  re- 
assuring his  men.  Countless  times  he  narrowly  escaped  being  wounded 
and  his  overcoat  was  torn  by  shell  fragments  in  several  places. 

About  0430  hours  enemy  fire  on  the  hill  increased  and  the  overdue 
German  attack  got  under  way.  With  a  deadly  hail  of  fire  from  their 
Mis  and  BARs,  the  riflemen  of  the  company  met  the  oncoming  moun- 
taineers. This  stopped  the  German  infantry,  but  two  self-propelled 
guns  supporting  the  attack  moved  right  up  to  the  American  line.  When 
Private  First  Class  Frank  A.  Franchino  tried  to  use  his  bazooka  on 
these  vehicles,  he  found  it  useless  because  of  a  huge  hole  torn  in  the 
side  of  the  tube.  Meeting  no  serious  opposition,  the  assaulj:  guns  fired 
a  couple  of  colored  flares,  then  moved  over  the  crest.  Two  more  enemy 
self-propelled  guns  moved  forward  and  all  four  weapons  engaged  the 
pair  of  American  TDs  on  the  hill,  neither  of  which  was  equipped 
with  night  sights.  In  the  meantime,  the  3d  Platoon  had  been  forced 
to  give  way.  Lieutenant  Henley,  seeing  the  Germans  moving  in  on 
his  command  post  went  back  to  Zerf  to  bring  up  the  reinforcements 
as  a  counterattacking  force. 

Several  enemy  infantrymen  following  the  leading  assault  gun  came 
upon  Lieutenant  Sylvester  M.  Beyer,  a  356th  Field  Artillery  forward 
observer,  Technician  Fourth  Grade  Paul  E.  Neuman  and  Sergeant 
Harry  C.  Gersbaugh,  in  the  hole  being  used  as  the  company  CP.  They 
captured  the  three  Americans  and  moved  them  a  short  distance  down 
the  hill  for  questioning.  When  the  trio  refused  to  divulge  any  military 


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information,  one  of  the  Germans  used  a  Schmeisser  on  them.  Sergeant 
Neuman  was  killed  and  the  other  two  men  wounded.  About  this  time 
Private  Irving  S.  Clemens  of  the  1st  Platoon  noticed  the  group  and 
opened  fire  with  his  BAR.  In  the  confusion  Lieutenant  Beyer,  whose 
stomach  was  riddled  with  bullets,  made  a  break  reaching  the  foxhole 
of  Staff  Sergeant  Roy  V.  Urban.  The  Germans  pursued  the  wounded 
officer  only  to  be  knocked  off  by  Sergeant  Urban's  Luger  pistol.  Private 
First  Class  Robert  D.  Hanlon  attempted  to  administer  first  aid,  but  the 
Lieutenant  refused  treatment  until  a  call  was  made  to  lift  the  American 
artillery  fire  which  by  that  time  was  pounding  the  hill.  Unprotected 
by  their  infantry  and  exposed  to  the  artillery  still  falling  on  the  position 
the  assault  guns  withdrew. 

In  Zerf,  Major  O'Neill  had  sent  for  Lieutenant  Leon  P.  Johnson 
and  his  platoon  of  Company  G,  301st,  which  was  in  reserve  at  Bruchs- 
muhle  and  had  been  made  available,  and  was  preparing  to  send  for- 
ward the  Company  L  reinforcements.  Just  then,  Staff  Sergeant  Ralph 
O.  Minnich  appeared  with  information  that  the  position  on  the  hill 
was  still  being  held.  Ordering  the  reinforcements  forward  on  the 
double,  under  command  of  Technical  Sergeant  Elmer  H.  Kinateder, 
the  battalion  commander  took  off  to  stop  the  artillery  and  halt  Lieu- 
tenant Johnson.  En  route  Sergeant  Kinateder  and  his  group  were  met 
by  Sergeant  Urban  who  came  down  the  hill  to  report  that  the  enemy 
assault  had  been  stopped,  the  self-propelled  guns  had  withdrawn  and 
that  seventeen  men  of  Company  L  were  still  holding  the  position. 
Later  in  the  morning,  Lieutenant  Johnson  moved  his  platoon  to  Hill 
5  to  strengthen  the  line  and  assume  command. 

The  376th  Combat  Team  had  reverted  to  the  control  of  the  94th 
on  March  3,  having  been  away  from  Division  since  February  19.  Dur- 
ing this  period  of  attachment  to  the  10th  Armored,  the  376th  Infantry 
Regiment  suffered  21  officer  casualties,  403  enlisted  casualties,  and  173 
non-battle  casualties.  In  addition,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Anderson's  men 
had  taken  1,483  prisoners,  reduced  155  defended  pillboxes  and  cap- 
tured an  estimated  ten  and  one-half  square  miles  of  fortified  territory 
from  the  enemy.  The  1st  Battalion  moved  to  Wiltingen  and  the  3d 
to  Schoden  while  the  remaining  battalion  continued  the  reduction  of 
the  pillbox  area  south  of  Konz-Karthaus.  On  the  following  afternoon 
the  3d  Battalion  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Anderson's  regiment  was  at- 
tached to  the  301st  and  relieved  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  on  line  east 
of  Serrig  and  began  the  relief  of  the  5th  Rangers.  Major  Stanion's 
men  assembled  in  Serrig,  then  moved  to  Irsch  where  they  returned  to 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


Colonel  Johnson's  control  becoming  regimental  reserve.  On  the  4th 
the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  finished  clearing  the  pillbox  area  and  moved  to 
Oberemmel  where  it  joined  the  Division  reserve.  Early  on  the  morning 
of  the  5th,  the  3d  Battalion  completed  its  relief  of  the  5th  Rangers 
who  also  became  part  of  the  Division  reserve. 

Back  at  Division  Headquarters,  plans  were  being  laid  for  a  general 
relief  in  the  bridgehead.  The  65th  Infantry  Division  was  to  replace 
the  26th  in  the  Saarlautern  area,  following  which  the  latter  unit  would 
move  north  and  relieve  the  94th  during  the  nights  of  the  6th,  7th  and 
8th  of  March.  Corps'  plan  called  for  General  Malony's  men  to  move 
into  Luxembourg  to  rest  and  refit.  While  the  465th  AAA  and  the 
774th  TD  Battalions  were  to  accompany  the  94th,  the  778th  Tank 
Battalion  was  to  pass  to  the  26th  Division.  Movement  was  scheduled 
by  motor  and  XX  Corps  provided  270  trucks  for  transporting  the  foot 
elements  of  the  Division.  Secrecy  required  the  removal  of  patches  and 
bumper  markings.  All  movement  was  to  be  under  cover  of  darkness 
with  strict  adherence  to  blackout  regulations.  Temporarily  corps  op- 
erators were  assigned  to  the  lower-frequency  radio  sets  to  eliminate 
the  necessity  of  a  change  over  during  the  relief. 

In  the  headquarters  of  the  higher  German  commands  there  was 
also  a  good  deal  of  planning  and  preparation  under  way  at  this  time. 
Following  the  repulse  of  the  III  Battalion  of  the  137th  Mountain 
Regiment  by  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  General  Hahn,  commanding  the 
German  LXXXII  Corps,  had  been  assigned  the  6th  SS  Mountain  Divi- 
sion. With  this  unit  and  the  other  forces  under  his  command  he 
planned  a  second  attack  against  the  American  bridgehead.  The  aim  of 
the  enemy  corps  was  to  cut  the  Zerf-Pellingen  road  which  was  being 
used  as  a  supply  route  to  Trier  and  to  link  forces  with  any  German 
units  which  might  still  be  holding  out  south  of  Trier. 

The  6th  SS  Mountain  Division  under  the  command  of  Gruppen- 
jiihrer  (Major  General)  Brenner  was  composed  of  two  SS  mountain 
regiments,  a  mountain  artillery  regiment,  one  tank  destroyer  battalion, 
and  the  normal  complement  of  engineers,  reconnaissance  and  service 
troops.  The  division  possessed  a  total  strength  of  about  three  thousand 
men,  all  in  the  23-  to  25-year  age  group.  These  troops  had  had  three 
years  of  combat  experience,  were  in  good  physical  condition  and  pos- 
sessed high  morale.  Repeatedly  they  had  fought  with  the  fanaticism 
peculiar  to  SS  troops. 

General  Hahn's  plan  called  for  a  coordinated  attack  to  the  west  by 


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the  6th  SS  Mountain  Division,  the  2d  Mountain  Division  and  the 
remnants  of  the  256th  Volksgrenadiers.  The  6th  SS  Mountain  Divi- 
sion was  to  seize  the  high  ground  along  which  the  Zerf-Pellingen  road 
ran,  reconnoitering  to  the  north  and  west  for  isolated  German  forces. 
To  the  north  the  256th  Infantry  Division  was  to  take  the  heights  south- 
west of  Gutweiler  and  be  prepared  to  push  the  attack  to  the  high 
ground  north  of  Geizenburg  and  west  of  Ollmuth,  while  the  2d  Moun- 
tain Division  was  to  capture  Muhlenberg  on  the  south  flank. 

The  6th  SS  Mountain  Division  had  been  thoroughly  trained  in  the 
tactics  of  attack  by  infiltration,  which  is  based  upon  the  idea  of  ap- 
proaching as  close  as  possible  to  an  objective  under  the  cover  of  dark- 
ness, capturing  isolated  posts,  moving  forward  supporting  weapons  and 
launching  the  final  assault  with  the  coming  of  daylight.  This  type  of 
attack  had  been  developed  as  a  result  of  countless  bitter  experiences 
in  which  strong  German  assault  groups  melted  away  under  the  tremen- 
dous fire  superiority  of  massed  American  artillery.  By  such  tactics,  the 
SS  troops  hoped  to  take  Lampaden  Ridge.  However,  the  men  of  the 
94th  had  been  initiated  in  this  type  of  warfare  two  months  earlier  by 
the  11th  Panzer  Division,  along  the  Siegfried  Switch  Line. 

At  2300  hours  on  March  5,  the  men  of  the  6th  SS  Mountain  Division 
began  movement  from  their  assembly  areas.  In  the  inky  darkness  they 
crossed  the  Ruwer  River  about  midnight.  Three  quarters  of  an  hour 
later,  the  II  Battalion  of  the  12th  SS  Mountain  Regiment  closed  in  on 
the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  G,  302d,  at  Kummelerhof  with  its  right 
assault  company  while  the  left,  or  southern  flank  of  the  battalion, 
worked  its  way  up  Hill  468  through  Hardten  Woods.  A  four-man 
outpost  under  Sergeant  Richard  R.  Wiles,  at  the  edge  of  the  woods 
on  the  forward  slope  of  the  hill,  had  received  orders  to  pull  back, 
but  before  the  men  could  comply  with  these  instructions,  they  were 
cut  off  by  infiltrating  Germans.  The  sergeant  ordered  his  men  to  make 
a  break  for  the  strongpoint  maintained  by  Company  F  in  Hentern,  but 
under  the  terrific  artillery  fire  falling  on  the  area  the  men  froze.  Ser- 
geant Wiles  attempted  to  make  it  alone,  only  to  be  captured  with 
the  coming  of  daylight.  Farther  south  a  force  of  forty  Germans  and 
two  light  machine  guns,  under  command  of  a  Lieutenant  Brockmann, 
was  connecting  the  flanks  of  the  II  Battalion  of  the  12th  SS  Mountain 
Regiment,  on  its  right,  and  Kampfgruppe  Dahne,  which  was  attacking 
Hentern,  on  its  left. 

At  0125  hours  the  leading  elements  of  the  11th  SS  Mountain  Regi- 
ment advanced  up  the  draw  south  of  Lampaden  and  were  challenged 
by  the  outposts  of  Company  I  of  the  302d  at  Lampadener  Muhle.  Ser- 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


geant  Samuel  Mallich,  manning  a  light  machine  gun  in  position  beside 
the  house  in  the  draw,  fired  a  box  of  ammunition  at  what  he  thought 
was  merely  a  German  patrol.  Noticing  some  of  the  enemy  were  work- 
ing around  to  his  left,  the  sergeant  moved  his  gun  north  across  the 
road  and  assumed  a  new  firing  position.  It  soon  became  apparent  that 
the  opposing  force  was  of  considerable  size  and  the  outpost  withdrew 
to  Lampaden.  Moving  back  two  men  were  lost  to  the  enemy  and 
Private  First  Class  James  M.  Bender  was  forced  to  move  into  Scho- 
merich  to  escape  the  advancing  SS  troopers.  Later  in  the  morning  he 
was  able  to  rejoin  his  company. 

Following  the  withdrawal  of  the  outpost,  the  Germans  set  fire  to 
the  mill  located  in  the  vicinity,  and  the  I  Battalion,  11th  SS  Mountain 
Regiment,  continued  up  the  draw  between  Lampaden  and  Schomerich. 
In  Lampaden  sounds  of  the  German  advance  could  be  heard,  but  the 
density  of  the  woods  concealed  the  presence  of  the  enemy  even  after 
flares  had  been  fired. 

By  0130  hours  communication  between  Captain  James  W.  Griffin  of 
Company  G,  302d,  in  Schomerich  and  his  3d  Platoon  in  Kummelerhof 
had  been  severed.  Sergeant  Vincent  Sacco's  last  message  informed  the 
company  commander  that  small-arms  and  bazooka  fire  was  being  re- 
ceived from  all  directions.  Thereupon  Captain  Griffin  requested  re- 
inforcements from  Major  Maixner,  who  ordered  the  2d  Platoon  of 
Company  F  to  move  from  its  reserve  positions  on  Hill  467  to  Scho- 
merich. At  0200  hours  men  were  observed  on  the  ridge  four  hundred 
yards  east  of  the  village.  A  patrol  sent  forward  to  investigate  was 
fired  upon  and  one  man  was  wounded.  By  this  time  bullets  were 
richocheting  off  the  stone  houses  in  Schomerich  and  the  2d  Platoon 
of  Company  G  on  Hill  468  was  pumping  lead  into  Hardter  Wald, 
which  was  also  under  fire  from  the  356th  Field  Artillery. 

Shortly  before  0200  hours  Sergeant  Max  L.  Ledesma  of  the  2d 
Platoon  of  Company  K,  302d,  in  Obersehr,  crawled  out  of  his  foxhole 
and  headed  for  the  cemetery  north  of  Lampaden  where  regular  contact 
with  Company  I  was  made.  In  the  vicinity  of  the  contact  point,  the 
sergeant,  who  was  alone,  encountered  several  soldiers  one  of  whom 
challenged  him  in  the  proper  manner.  Before  he  could  reply,  he 
recognized  them  as  Germans  and  opened  fire.  This  fire  was  returned 
and  the  sergeant  severely  wounded.  He  turned  into  the  darkness,  to 
stagger  and  crawl  back  to  Obersehr  to  give  the  alarm. 

Soon  afterward  a  German  soldier,  speaking  perfect  English,  ap- 
proached a  security  outpost  of  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  B,  774th 


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371 


TD  Battalion,  in  Obersehr.  When  challenged  the  German  gave  the 
proper  password  from  the  darkness,  then  informed  the  sentinel  that 
he  would  return  shortly  with  several  other  men.  Soon  a  small  group 
of  the  enemy  arrived,  surrounded  the  sentry  taking  him  prisoner.  With 
this  accomplished,  elements  of  the  III  Battalion  of  the  11th  SS  Moun- 
tain Regiment  moved  against  the  village. 

Technical  Sergeant  William  B.  Grose,  commanding  the  2d  Platoon 
of  Company  K,  heard  part  of  the  enemy  force  attempting  to  infiltrate 
into  the  village  and  ordered  his  men  to  open  fire.  After  some  sharp 
fighting,  the  platoon  drove  back  the  attackers  who  proceeded  to  dig 
in  around  Obersehr.  Until  daylight,  the  Americans  engaged  by  fire 
every  sound  of  movement  outside  the  town.  Sergeant  Flaud  E.  Long 
heard  groaning  in  the  darkness  in  front  of  his  position  and  recognized 
a  few  words  in  Spanish.  Certain  of  the  identity  of  the  wounded  man, 
the  sergeant  dashed  from  his  house,  ignoring  the  volume  of  fire  cut- 
ting through  the  area.  In  the  darkness  he  located  Sergeant  Ledesma 
and  dragged  him  to  shelter.  Before  dying  of  his  wounds,  Ledesma 
muttered  unintelligibly  about  the  compromised  password.  The  fire 
fight  continued. 

By  this  time,  Major  Maixner  had  alerted  Company  F  in  Hentern  and 
Company  E  in  Baldringen.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt  had  done  like- 
wise in  the  3d  Battalion  area.  Captain  Edwards  reinforced  the  Com- 
pany I  outpost  which  had  been  driven  from  Lampadener  Muhle  and 
sent  them  forward  again,  but  the  glare  of  the  mill  blazing  in  the  draw 
prevented  their  moving  beyond  the  edge  of  Lampaden.  Enemy  move- 
ment had  been  picked  up  in  the  draw  to  the  north  and  heavy  artillery 
and  mortar  concentrations  were  fired  on  this  area  and  on  the  draw  to 
the  south.  Company  G  continued  to  call  for  fire  on  Hardter  Wald. 
The  2d  Platoon  of  Company  F,  under  Sergeant  Howard  J.  Morton, 
reached  Schomerich  and  went  into  position  in  the  northeast  edge  of 
the  village. 

By  0400  hours  the  full  might  of  the  attack  of  the  6th  SS  Mountain 
Division  was  unleashed.  A  force  of  undetermined  size  assaulted  the 
1st  Platoon  of  Company  K,  302d,  in  Ollmuth  but  the  thrust  was  re- 
pelled by  Lieutenant  Riggs  Mahoney's  men.  The  III  Battalion  of  the 
11th  SS  Mountain  Regiment  advanced  against  and  into  Obersehr,  lay- 
ing siege  to  elements  of  the  774th  TD  Battalion,  the  3d  Platoon  of 
the  302d's  Cannon  Company  and  elements  of  Company  K  in  the  town. 
At  the  same  time,  the  II  Battalion  of  the  11th  hit  the  forward  positions 
of  Company  I  in  front  of  Lampaden,  overrunning  some  and  infiltrating 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


past  others.  Meanwhile,  elements  of  the  12th  SS  Mountain  Regiment 
were  attacking  Schomerich  and  climbing  the  wooded,  southeastern 
slope  of  Hill  468  under  heavy  American  artillery  fire.  Kampfgruppe 
Dahne  was  starting  a  pincers  movement  against  the  3d  Platoon  of 
Company  F  in  Hentern  while  Lieutenant  Brockmann's  force  which  had 
been  securing  the  left  flank  of  the  II  Battalion,  12th  SS  Mountain 
Regiment,  began  its  secondary  mission  of  disrupting  communications 
and  harassing  artillery  positions.  Farther  south  the  II  Battalion,  137th 
Mountain  Regiment,  prepared  to  move  against  Muhlenberg. 

In  Obersehr  men  of  Company  K  defended  the  front  and  flanks  of 
the  position  while  the  TDs  covered  the  street  between  the  two  rows  of 
houses.  When  Sergeant  Grose  requested  flares  from  his  company 
commander,  Captain  Joseph  Bugel,  in  Neidersehr,  the  CO  replied  that 
he  had  only  three  but  promised  to  give  warning  before  he  fired  these. 
Prior  to  each  firing,  Sergeant  Grose  was  notified  by  radio  in  sufficient 
time  to  permit  him  to  alert  his  men.  As  each  flare  illuminated  the 
area,  all  weapons  went  into  action.  In  this  manner  the  battle  wore  on, 
between  the  Germans  in  and  around  the  town  and  the  Americans  holed 
up  in  a  few  of  the  houses. 

In  Lampaden  Company  I  was  hard  pressed.  The  3d  Platoon,  on 
the  forward  slope  of  the  ridge  to  the  north,  was  first  struck  on  the  left 
flank  near  the  head  of  the  draw.  A  group  of  Germans  approached  the 
foxhole  of  Private  Charles  F.  McCartney,  on  the  extreme  left  of  the 
platoon,  and  were  challenged.  Receiving  no  reply,  Private  McCartney 
opened  fire  and  was  killed  by  a  return  burst  from  an  enemy  machine 
gun.  Fire  from  the  rest  of  the  squad  temporarily  drove  back  the  enemy 
and  Staff  Sergeant  Sidney  Schrager  arrived  with  half  a  platoon  to 
reinforce  the  position.  As  this  group  crawled  toward  the  flank  under 
attack,  Sergeant  Schrager  was  wounded  and  evacuated  with  difficulty 
under  the  grazing  fire  raking  the  area.  While  this  was  happening, 
Staff  Sergeant  Dominick  J.  Bondi,  platoon  guide  of  the  2d  Platoon, 
led  forward  a  squad  and  a  half  to  strengthen  the  center  of  the  line. 
This  group  reached  the  crest  of  the  ridge  under  heavy  machine-gun 
fire  from  Hill  464. 

In  Schomerich  elements  of  Companies  F  and  G  were  firing  into  the 
darkness  at  the  sounds  of  the  enemy  attack.  On  Hill  468,  the  moun- 
taineers moved  right  up  to  the  barbed  wire  in  front  of  the  2d  Platoon 
of  Company  G.  Sergeant  Domer  V.  Miller  and  Sergeant  John  C. 
Finger,  manning  one  of  the  HMGs,  opened  fire  at  point-blank  range. 
They  expended  three  boxes  of  ammunition,  but  were  overrun,  after 
killing  the  first  German  who  leaped  into  their  emplacement,  while  they 


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were  attempting  to  reload.  Meanwhile,  the  enemy  continued  to  press 
forward  in  the  darkness  against  the  sustained  fire  of  the  defenders. 
Sergeant  Patrick  J.  Hassett,  in  charge  of  the  remaining  heavy  machine 
gun,  personally  killed  three  Germans  at  the  very  edge  of  his  emplace- 
ment. Technical  Sergeant  Arthur  C.  Ernst,  commanding  the  2d  Pla- 
toon, reported  his  situation  to  Captain  Griffin  and  was  ordered  to 
make  a  break  for  town.  The  Americans  came  down  the  hill  on  the 
double  mixed  with  the  attackers.  Sergeant  Milton  H.  Stern  and  Private 
First  Class  Morgan  H.  Morgan  dashed  to  the  house  being  held  by  one 
of  the  antitank  squads  yelling,  "We're  GIs!  Let  us  in!"  Remains  of 
the  2d  Platoon  then  assumed  positions  in  the  southern  portion  of 
Schomerich. 

In  Hentern  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  F  and  company  headquarters 
met  the  attack  of  Kampfgruppe  Dahne  with  a  furious  volley  of  small- 
arms  fire  which  slowed  the  assault  but  could  not  prevent  a  small 
group  of  Germans  from  reaching  the  roadblock  at  the  northern  edge 
of  the  village,  near  the  company  command  post.  When  the  SS  troopers 
attempted  to  remove  the  antitank  mines  laid  across  the  road  here, 
Captain  Kops  hurled  a  grenade  into  their  midst.  The  resulting  ex- 
plosion detonated  some  of  the  mines,  which  killed  five  of  the  enemy, 
blew  in  the  side  of  a  house  and  buried  the  man  who  had  handed 
Captain  Kops  the  grenade.  During  this  action,  the  reserve  portion  of 
the  Kampfgruppe  circled  to  the  rear  of  the  town.  Finding  himself 
surrounded,  the  CO  of  Company  F  ordered  the  1st  Platoon  on  Hill  467 
to  his  assistance. 

Under  Lieutenant  Brockmann,  the  German  force  which  had  been 
wandering  around  in  the  area  west  of  Hentern  and  Baldringen  decided 
to  attack  the  latter  town  astride  the  road  from  the  west.  The  southern 
portion  of  this  unit  captured  Sergeant  Richard  W.  Finkbone,  but  in- 
tense fire  from  the  village  destroyed  the  ardor  of  the  attackers;  they 
sent  their  prisoner  into  town  as  a  surrender  envoy.  Sergeant  Finkbone, 
who  had  been  wounded  in  the  arm,  dashed  into  Baldringen  forgetful 
of  the  German  blanket  he  had  draped  about  himself.  Fortunately  he 
was  recognized  before  his  comrades  opened  fire.  The  desired  sur- 
render was  arranged.  While  the  PWs  were  being  marched  to  the 
American  lines,  a  German  artillery  concentration  caused  a  minor  panic. 
Some  of  the  prisoners  started  to  run  but  Private  First  Class  Michael  A. 
Scioli  restored  order  with  a  few  well  placed  bursts  from  a  submachine 
gun.  A  short  time  later  the  remainder  of  this  force  was  also  taken 
prisoner.  Before  the  second  group  of  PWs  could  be  moved  to  cover, 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


an  enemy  artillery  concentration  eliminated  all  but  their  leader,  Lieu- 
tenant Brockmann. 

The  next  stage  of  the  German  attack  unrolled  to  the  north,  in  the 
sector  of  the  3d  Cavalry  Group.  At  0630  hours  approximately  fifty 
Germans  took  Hill  405  which  was  unoccupied  and,  after  leaving  a 
security  detachment,  proceeded  northward  against  Gutweiler.  They 
swarmed  into  town  and  occupied  a  few  houses;  however,  the  furious 
fire  of  the  cavalrymen  caused  so  many  casualties  the  enemy  agreed  to 
surrender.  In  conjunction  with  this  attack,  another  force  of  approxi- 
mately one  German  company,  moved  westward  against  Hill  427,  also 
undefended.  This  group  then  swept  to  the  northeast  in  an  attempt  to 
capture  Korlingen  from  the  rear.  It  met  with  no  success. 

At  0700  hours,  the  II  Battalion  of  the  137th  Mountain  Regiment, 
2d  Mountain  Division,  attacked  the  positions  of  Company  I,  301st 
Infantry,  on  Muhlenberg,  in  the  bend  of  the  Ruwer  River  northeast  of 
Zerf.  Moving  steadily  up  the  wooded  slope,  the  enemy  assaulted  some 
and  passed  between  other  widely  scattered  positions  of  the  2d  and  3d 
Platoons.  Bitter  fighting  developed  during  which  Lieutenant  James  T. 
Flower  of  the  2d  Platoon,  by  shifting  his  men  about  for  repeated 
thrusts  at  the  enemy,  managed  to  hold  the  right  knoll  of  the  hill. 

All  along  the  front  under  attack,  the  situation  was  uncertain  and 
the  outlook  for  the  Division  far  from  encouraging.  Ollmuth  was 
quiet  except  for  occasional  artillery  fire  from  across  the  Ruwer.  In 
Niedersehr  Captain  Bugel  had  posted  snipers,  drawn  from  his  com- 
pany headquarters,  east  and  south  of  the  village  to  harass  the  Germans 
around  the  town.  In  Obersehr  Lieutenant  Joseph  K.  Harden,  com- 
manding one  of  the  302d's  cannon  platoons,  was  requesting  tank  and 
infantry  reinforcement.  Around  Lampaden,  the  men  of  Company  I, 
in  disorganized  groups,  were  trading  shots  with  the  enemy  round  for 
round.  Company  G  in  Schomerich  was  surrounded  and  the  3d  Platoon 
of  the  company  in  Kummelerhof  was  an  unknown  factor.  The  1st 
Platoon  of  Company  F  was  dispatched  to  Hentern  to  assist  the  3d 
Platoon  in  its  battle  with  Ka?npfgruppe  Dahne.  On  Hill  473,  and  still 
unmolested,  was  the  bulk  of  Company  E.  Other  elements  of  the  com- 
pany in  Baldringen  had  fourteen  prisoners  and  were  reporting  heavy 
artillery  fire  on  the  town.  Company  I  of  the  301st  was  embroiled  in 
the  woods  on  Muhlenberg.  The  situation  left  much  to  be  desired. 

With  the  coming  of  daylight,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt,  in  Lampa- 
den, ordered  the  CO  of  Company  L  to  send  a  platoon,  supported  by 


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three  tanks,  to  relieve  Obersehr.  This  assignment  was  given  to  Lieu- 
tenant Ramirez's  3d  Platoon.  The  original  plan  of  attack  called  for 
one  tank,  supported  by  a  squad  of  infantry,  to  take  the  road  leading 
west  from  Lampaden  around  Hill  500,  while  the  remainder  of  the 
force  used  the  north-south  road  between  the  two  towns.  As  the  ad- 
vance began,  the  riflemen  encountered  intense  fire  from  Hill  500  and 
it  was  discovered  that  all  three  tanks  had  taken  the  road  to  the  west. 
One  of  the  mediums  was  hit  and  this  occasioned  their  withdrawal. 
Returning  to  Lampaden,  Lieutenant  Ramirez  set  his  attack  in  motion 
a  second  time.  With  the  3d  Squad  on  the  left,  the  1st  on  the  right  and 
the  2d  in  support,  the  platoon  moved  forward  with  the  tanks  against 
terrific  and  accurate  enemy  fire.  The  Germans  employed  machine  guns, 
Scbmeissers  and  Panzerfausts.  Moreover,  they  were  supported  by  high- 
velocity  antitank  fire  from  across  the  Ruwer.  During  the  advance  the 
fog  which  blanketed  the  valley  of  the  Ruwer  alternately  lifted  and 
fell;  visibility  varied  from  fairly  good  to  poor.  In  the  left  squad,  three 
men  including  the  squad  leader  were  hit  soon  after  they  moved  for- 
ward. About  the  same  time  the  platoon  leader  became  a  casualty  and 
command  passed  to  Technical  Sergeant  Albert  I.  Orr.  Part  way  up 
Hill  500  the  right  tank  stopped  and  withdrew  a  little.  The  other 
followed  suit.  Technician  Fifth  Grade  Harry  E.  Hebard,  the  platoon 
aid  man,  who  remained  with  a  wounded  man  in  front  of  the  armor 
was  killed  at  this  time.  Sergeant  Orr  then  committed  the  support  be- 
tween the  two  assault  squads  and  after  a  hasty  reorganization,  fear- 
lessly pressed  the  attack  against  the  stubborn  defense  of  the  SS  troopers. 
Following  the  tanks,  the  infantry  moved  toward  the  crest  of  the  hill, 
tn  the  3d  Squad  there  remained  only  six  effectives  out  of  the  eleven 
men  who  had  started  the  attack;  Staff  Sergeant  Daniel  Pash  and  Ser- 
geant John  A.  Regan  were  both  killed  on  Hill  500.  One  of  the  tanks 
knocked  out  a  German  machine-gun  nest  emplaced  behind  a  pile  of 
cattle  beets  and  with  this  the  depleted  platoon  and  the  armor  swept 
to  the  crest.  There  the  infantrymen  killed  or  captured  some  fifty 
Germans. 

Then  trouble  began  again.  Private  First  Class  Russel  E.  Wellman, 
a  member  of  the  platoon,  continues  the  story: 

An  88  on  the  next  hill  commenced  firing  on  the  tanks.  The  men  hugged 
the  ground  and  prayed  while  the  tank  commander  radioed  for  permission  to 
withdraw  to  defilade.  We  had  been  glad  to  have  the  tanks,  but  now  we 
were  glad  to  see  them  go  as  they  were  drawing  fire  on  us.  From  that  time 
until  the  next  night  we  just  stayed  there  .  .  .  wet,  cold,  no  food  and  little 
water.  Jerry  threw  concentrations  of  everything  he  had  from  mortars  to  rockets 


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and  88s.  We  listened  to  the  artillery  around  us  and  tried  to  figure  out  where 
the  line  ran.  The  next  day  they  told  us  there  were  Germans  all  around  us. 
Some  of  us  found  hard  crackers  and  sardines  on  dead  Germans.  Hungry  as 
we  were  they  tasted  good!  On  the  second  night  a  few  men  went  into  town 
for  hot  chow  and  the  rest  of  us  got  K  rations.  The  third  day  the  platoon 
was  relieved. 

Inside  Obersehr,  the  American  defenders  continued  to  lash  out 
savagely,  at  the  cordon  of  Germans  surrounding  them,  with  the  fire  of 
their  own  weapons  and  the  guns  of  the  356th  Field  Artillery  support- 
ing their  defense.  After  daylight  a  German  carrying  a  white  flag 
appeared  at  the  northern  edge  of  the  village.  He  counseled  surrender, 
reminding  the  besieged  forces  that  they  were  surrounded,  that  their 
heavy  machine  guns  had  been  captured  and  that  even  within  the  town 
their  forces  were  divided  into  isolated  groups.  Staff  Sergeant  William 
J.  Murphy  of  the  774th  TD  Battalion  spoke  for  the  group  in  replying 
to  the  surrender  emmissary:  "See  those  tracks  you  made  coming  up 
here?  Well,  you  fill  them  a  hell  of  a  lot  faster  going  back!"  This 
blunt  refusal  to  yield  brought  a  prompt  renewal  of  hostilities.  A  short 
time  later,  an  enemy  thrust  was  made  against  Ollmuth  to  the  north- 
east. Neither  effort  gained  any  ground  for  the  Germans. 

At  0800  hours  Company  C  of  the  302d  left  Irsch  followed  by  the 
1st  Platoon  of  Company  A,  778th  Tank  Battalion  with  orders  to  report 
to  Major  Maixner  and  relieve  Company  G  in  Schomerich.  The  1st 
Platoon  of  Company  F  had  left  its  positions  on  Hill  467,  driven  into 
Hentern  and  mopped  up  the  Germans  working  on  Captain  Kops  and 
his  3d  Platoon.  This  action  netted  some  twenty-four  prisoners  beside 
destroying  the  remains  of  Kampfgruppe  Dahne.  Company  F  estab- 
lished radio  contact  with  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  G  and  learned 
it  was  still  in  action  at  Kummelerhof.  Company  E  reported  its  situa- 
tion was  under  control  on  Hill  472  and  in  Baldringen. 

Farther  to  the  south  in  the  area  of  Company  I  of  the  301st  on 
Muhlenberg,  Private  First  Class  Bennett  P.  Katzen  organized  a  small 
group  and  led  it  forward  to  help  restore  the  line.  The  company's 
machine  guns  and  mortar  support  were  active  and  about  0930  hours, 
the  enemy  pulled  back  prior  to  dropping  a  heavy  artillery  barrage  on 
the  hill.  A  half  hour  later  the  Germans  launched  another  attack,  but 
this  too  was  beaten  off.  In  the  meantime  Captain  Donovan,  command- 
ing Company  I  of  the  301st,  obtained  a  platoon  of  Company  L  from 
Major  O'Neil.  This  force,  under  Sergeant  Kinateder,  advanced  up 
the  left  side  of  Muhlenberg  to  reestablish  that  portion  of  the  hill. 


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378  THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 

Aside  from  sporadic  artillery  fire  Company  I's  positions  received  no 
further  attention. 

All  during  the  morning  there  was  furious  fighting  in  and  around 
the  town  of  Schomerich.  As  the  visibility  improved,  so  did  the  marks- 
manship of  the  men  of  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  G  and  the  2d 
Platoon  of  Company  F.  Supported  by  the  machine  guns  and  mortars 
of  Company  H,  by  the  antitankers  and  tank  destroyermen,  they  wrought 
havoc  upon  those  elements  of  the  12th  SS  Mountain  Regiment  com- 
mitted against  them.  After  the  fog  lifted  the  enemy  made  a  second 
assault  on  the  town  only  to  run  into  furious  and  well  directed  fire. 
Captain  Griffin,  half-blind  from  a  head  wound  received  at  Sinz,  suf- 
fered a  second  head  injury  but  refused  to  relinquish  command.  He 
continued  to  rally  and  direct  his  men.  Private  First  Class  Carl  T. 
Swift,  commanding  a  squad  of  new  men  in  the  2d  Platoon,  ably  di- 
rected their  fire,  which  broke  the  enemy  assault  against  the  northeast 
corner  of  the  village.  Staff  Sergeant  Milton  H.  Stern  and  Private  First 
Class  Harvey  J.  Reynolds  dropped  hand  grenades  from  a  second  story 
window  on  several  Germans  who  had  approached  close  enough  to  set 
fire  to  one  of  the  TD's  half-tracks.  All  morning  long  enemy  artillery, 
rockets  and  mortars  rained  on  the  village.  German  bazookas  and 
Panzerfausts  fired  into  Schomerich,  set  several  buildings  afire,  and  there 
were  some  enemy  snipers  within  the  town. 

Relentlessly,  the  German  attack  continued.  After  the  initial  failures, 
the  enemy  redoubled  his  efforts  and  succeeded  in  gaining  entry  into 
the  eastern  and  southeastern  parts  of  the  town.  One  squad  of  the  1st 
Platoon  of  Company  G,  a  heavy  machine  gun  section  and  a  mortar 
section  of  Company  H  were  surrounded  and  captured.  Donning  Ameri- 
can helmets  and  field  jackets,  the  Germans  took  up  street  fighting  in 
earnest,  even  pressing  civilians  into  service  as  snipers.  The  defenders 
met  these  assaults,  stopped  them  and  prepared  to  retake  lost  houses 
and  free  captured  comrades.  Sergeant  Orleane  A.  Jacobson  and  Private 
First  Class  Francis  A.  Palet  took  a  bazooka  into  the  street,  flanked  an 
enemy-held  building  and  eliminated  its  defenders  with  a  round  through 
the  wall.  Sergeant  Ernst  was  wounded  while  attempting  to  storm  the 
house  in  which  the  mortar  men  were  held  prisoner.  Private  First  Class 
Clifford  R.  McCumber  ran  from  house  to  house,  distributing  ammuni- 
tion procured  from  Lieutenant  Robert  E.  Gobin's  machine-gun  platoon. 

In  Lampaden  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt  discovered  he  was  cut  off 
and  encircled  when  the  crew  of  the  TD  position  west  of  town  dashed 
back  to  report  they  had  been  overrun,  and  when  Lieutenant  Najjar  of 


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the  A&P  Platoon  and  his  driver,  on  reconnaissance  west  of  town, 
brought  back  ten  prisoners,  including  an  Oberleutnant,  taken  at  the 
pumping  station.  A  task  force  formed  by  Lieutenant  Robert  O.  Kim- 
ball of  cooks,  drivers,  mechanics  and  TD-men  set  out  to  clear  the  area 
in  rear  of  town.  From  the  road  junction  west  of  Lampaden,  they  en- 
countered strong  fire  and  went  into  a  defensive  position  south  of  the 
road,  under  the  command  of  First  Sergeant  Bruno  Felicelli.  Sergeant 
Eugene  T.  Hack  of  the  3d  Battalion  Intelligence  Section  and  Sergeant 
Robert  A.  Hawd  of  the  I&R  Platoon  identified  Lieutenant  Najjar's 
prisoners  as  members  of  the  II  Battalion,  11th  SS  Mountain  Regiment 
and  learned  that  their  mission  was  to  cut  the  American  supply  route 
to  Trier  by  blocking  the  Zerf-Pellingen  road. 

Company  L  made  another  attempt  to  clear  the  road  into  Obersehr 
when  Lieutenant  Travers  sent  Sergeant  George  H.  Stockman's  squad 
of  the  2d  Platoon  up  Hill  500  with  the  tank  that  had  not  reached  the 
crest.  This  group  moved  up  and  over  the  hill;  here  the  tank  was 
driven  back  by  Panzerfausts  and  long-range  antitank  fire  from  the 
northeast.  Despite  this  fact  Sergeant  Stockman  and  his  men  continued 
forward  until  they  made  contact  with  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  I. 
Fire  from  the  machine  gun  in  the  cemetery  killed  Sergeant  Stockman 
and  pinned  down  his  riflemen.  On  the  crest  of  Hill  500,  the  3d  Pla- 
toon of  Company  L  made  two  attempts  to  reach  Sergeant  Stockman's 
men  and  the  position  of  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  I  without  success. 
Sergeant  Philip  D.  Grant's  squad,  supported  by  a  tank,  was  sent 
against  the  enemy  position  in  the  cemetery,  but  furious  automatic- 
weapons  fire,  Panzerfausts  and  artillery  beat  back  both  tank  and 
infantry. 

During  the  morning,  three  men  of  the  7th  Field  Artillery  Observa- 
tion Battalion  came  into  Lampaden.  They  reported  that  after  spending 
the  night  in  Pellingen,  they  were  on  their  way  to  Obersehr  via  Lampa- 
den when  west  of  the  latter  town  their  %-ton  truck  was  hit  by  a 
Panzerfaust.  The  lieutenant  with  them  was  seriously  wounded  and 
three  men  captured.  By  running  and  crawling  through  the  hail  of 
automatic-weapons  fire  directed  against  them,  the  rest  of  the  group 
managed  to  escape.  This  information  confirmed  the  fact  that  the  enemy 
was  well  in  rear  of  the  town. 

In  Obersehr,  Private  First  Class  Paul  L.  Zaring  of  the  3d  Platoon, 
of  the  302d's  Cannon  Company,  spent  the  morning  engaged  in  a 
private  feud  with  the  SS  troopers.  He  had  been  on  guard  at  his  gun 
position  southwest  of  the  village  when  the  Germans,  infiltrating  in 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


the  darkness,  seriously  wounded  the  other  guard  and  penned  the  rest 
of  the  platoon  in  a  group  of  houses.  Private  First  Class  Zaring  elected 
to  remain  with  the  guns  and  his  wounded  companion  to  whom  he 
administered  first  aid.  During  the  ensuing  hours,  he  dodged  artillery, 
small-arms  fire  and  an  occasional  Panzerfaust  while  picking  off  those 
SS  troopers  who  came  within  range.  At  one  time,  a  German  officer, 
grenade  in  hand,  got  to  within  ten  yards  of  the  howitzers  before  he 
was  stopped.  The  action  of  this  lone  soldier  saved  the  platoon's  guns 
from  capture  or  destruction  and  resulted  in  the  death  of  eight  SS 
troopers. 

When  the  situation  seemed  a  bit  improved,  the  3d  Battalion,  302d, 
sent  an  ambulance  and  a  2l/^-ton  truck  loaded  with  twenty-five  wounded 
Americans  including  Lieutenant  Ramirez,  fourteen  wounded  Germans 
and  a  six-man  ammunition  detail  westward  toward  Irsch.  Near  Drei- 
kopf  these  vehicles  were  stopped  by  the  enemy.  Technician  Fifth 
Grade  Albert  H.  Case  and  Private  First  Class  Wilford  Macon  had  all 
but  persuaded  the  Nazi  commander  to  let  them  pass  when  one  of  the 
German  wounded  complained  of  the  treatment  he  had  received.  This 
settled  the  matter.  The  group  was  taken  prisoner  and  herded  into  a 
vacant  gun  emplacement. 

A  356th  Field  Artillery  wire  party  which  set  out  by  jeep  from 
Steinbach  to  repair  a  break  in  the  line  running  back  to  the  artillery 
CP  in  Oberemmel  was  hit  by  two  Panzerfausts  just  west  of  Dreikopf. 
Sergeant  Robert  A.  Klahn  was  killed,  Technician  Fifth  Grade  John  R. 
Deller  wounded  and  Sergeant  Woodrow  J.  Boyette  captured.  The  two 
men  surviving  the  encounter  were  led  to  the  gun  emplacement  where 
they  joined  the  other  American  prisoners. 

Throughout  the  morning  reports  of  the  German  infiltration  drifted 
back  to  the  various  S-2s  in  the  area.  At  0700  hours  a  group  of  enemy 
was  seen  in  the  woods  at  the  road  junction  west  of  Baldringen.  At 
0930  hours  an  enemy  patrol  was  sighted  one  mile  south  of  Pellingen. 
Half  an  hour  later  a  four-man  German  patrol  was  fired  on  near  Stein- 
bach and  withdrew  to  the  north.  At  about  1100  hours  tank  destroyers 
in  the  vicinity  of  Steinbach  reported  twenty  Germans  digging  in  on  Hill 
507  and  brought  them  under  fire.  Some  thirty  minutes  later  an  Ameri- 
can half-track  coming  south  from  Pellingen  was  fired  upon  by  about 
fifty  Germans  as  it  passed  Dreikopf.  Occupants  of  the  vehicle  returned 
the  fire  without  slackening  speed  and  passed  through  safely. 

In  Irsch  Colonel  Johnson's  headquarters  estimated  the  enemy  force 
at  the  roadblock  at  about  one  platoon  and  Company  B  was  alerted  for 


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action.  Lieutenant  John  C.  Hanes,  one  of  the  regimental  liaison  offi- 
cers, guided  forward  a  platoon  of  light  tanks  from  Company  D  of  the 
778th  Tank  Battalion  which  were  to  assist  Captain  Wancio's  company 
in  clearing  the  Zerf-Pellingen  road  and  reestablishing  contact  with 
the  3d  Battalion  in  Lampaden. 

Meanwhile  Company  C  of  the  302d,  followed  by  five  medium  tanks, 
had  moved  east  from  Irsch  on  the  highway,  cut  northeast  over  a  moun- 
tain trail  to  Kummerwald  and  reached  the  Zerf-Pellingen  road,  west 
of  Baldringen.  Here  Lieutenant  Mark  Hammer,  commanding  the 
company,  left  Technical  Sergeant  James  A.  Davis  and  the  2d  Platoon 
to  take  positions  in  the  woods  at  the  road  junction.  The  platoon's 
mission  was  to  keep  both  roads  open  and  to  capture  any  Germans  dis- 
covered in  the  immediate  area.  Meanwhile,  the  rest  of  the  company 
and  the  tanks  moved  north  to  the  CP  of  the  2d  Battalion  located  in  a 
pillbox  five  hundred  yards  south  of  Steinbach. 

There  the  battalion  commander  informed  Lieutenant  Hammer  that 
the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  G  was  cut  off  in  Kummelerhof,  the  2d 
Platoon  had  been  driven  off  Hill  468  and  that  the  remnants  of  Com- 
pany G  were  bottled  up  in  Schomerich.  Company  C  was  to  retake  the 
hill  and  hold  it,  at  which  time  Company  G  would  break  out  of  Scho- 
merich and  assist  in  consolidating  the  battalion  front. 

Company  C  proceeded  east  through  the  woods  to  an  assembly  area 
in  a  small  grove  east  of  the  objective.  The  company  commander  placed 
his  3d  Platoon,  commanded  by  Technical  Sergeant  Marvin  L.  Kress, 
in  position  to  protect  the  left  of  the  attack  against  any  German  thrust 
that  might  develop  from  the  direction  of  Schomerich,  and  instructed 
the  light-machine-gun  section  and  one  section  of  heavies  to  remain  in 
the  assembly  area  until  needed.  Technical  Sergeant  Leonard  T. 
Paluszynski's  1st  Platoon,  the  section  of  HMGs  commanded  by  Staff 
Sergeant  Frank  Schwemer  and  four  medium  tanks  were  to  assault  Hill 
468.  Without  benefit  of  artillery  preparation,  Lieutenant  Hammer  led 
the  attacking  force  up  the  hill.  Against  light  opposition,  the  ob- 
jective was  seized.  About  ten  Germans  were  killed  in  the  operation 
and  an  equal  number  abandoned  the  position  to  escape.  The  3d  Pla- 
toon was  then  brought  forward  and  placed  on  the  left,  just  west  of 
the  road  running  down  the  hill  into  Schomerich.  Also,  the  machine- 
gun  sections  came  forward  to  strengthen  the  company's  flanks. 

With  the  position  organized,  radio  contact  was  made  with  Captain 
Griffin  in  Schomerich  who  reported  his  strength  was  too  low  to  enable 
him  to  move  from  the  town.  His  heavy  machine  guns  and  mortars 


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had  been  captured  and  he  was  holding  only  four  of  the  house*. 
Captain  Griffin  requested  tank  support. 

As  the  medium  tanks  rolled  toward  Schomerich,  the  enemy  troops, 
who  had  expended  most  of  their  Panzerfausts  against  the  houses  de- 
fended by  elements  of  Companies  F  and  G  within  the  town,  began  a 
hasty  withdrawal.  In  short  order  the  armor  and  infantry  cleared  the 
town,  retaking  most  of  the  Company  H  men  who  had  been  made 
prisoner.  The  tanks  then  returned  to  Hill  468  and  the  CO  of  Company 
C  prepared  to  join  Captain  Griffin. 

In  the  3d  Battalion  sector,  the  relief  of  Obersehr  still  plagued 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt.  Consequently,  Sergeant  Grant's  squad  was 
pulled  back  and  with  the  1st  Squad  of  the  2d  Platoon  was  placed 
under  command  of  Lieutenant  Cerboskas.  Both  squads  then  moved 
up  Hill  500,  and  each  mounted  one  of  the  medium  tanks  in  the  area 
of  the  3d  Platoon.  The  armor  roared  straight  over  the  hill  and  into 
Obersehr,  overrunning  the  enemy  south  of  town.  Dismounting  in  the 
village,  assault  parties  formed  and  with  the  assistance  of  the  besieged 
Americans  within  Obersehr,  soon  cleared  the  town. 

Using  the  tanks  in  the  same  manner  as  Lieutenant  Cerboskas  had, 
Sergeant  Grose  and  Sergeant  Long  stormed  through  the  German  posi- 
tions north  and  east  of  Obersehr,  in  that  order.  Seventy  prisoners  were 
taken  and  over  one  hundred  dead  were  counted  on  the  north  side  of 
the  village  alone.  A  police  detail  picked  up  twenty-six  machine  guns 
and  forty-two  Panzerfausts. 

About  this  time  a  German  NCO  and  a  sergeant  from  the  7th  Field 
Artillery  Observation  Battalion  appeared  in  town  from  the  enemy 
roadblock  at  Dreikopf  to  effect  a  prisoner  exchange.  The  matter  was 
referred  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt,  who,  fearing  to  trade  able- 
bodied  SS  troopers  who  had  seen  the  under-manned  American  positions 
on  Lampaden  Ridge,  stalled  the  parley  until  dusk.  When  he  could 
procrastinate  no  longer,  the  battalion  commander  sent  word  to  the 
German  sergeant  that  he  lacked  the  authority  to  approve  such  a 
transaction. 

Lieutenant  Hammer  arrived  at  Captain  Griffin's  CP  in  Schomerich 
just  as  the  remnants  of  the  II  Battalion  of  the  12th  SS  Mountain  Regi- 
ment launched  another  attack  with  fifty-odd  men  and  two  assault  guns, 
all  that  remained  of  their  original  strength.  Riflemen  from  Companies 
C,  G  and  F;  the  machine  gunners  of  Companies  D  and  H;  and  the 
tank  destroyer  men  manning  a  .50-caliber  machine  gun  prepared  a 
warm  reception  for  the  enemy,  as  German  assault  guns  supporting  the 


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383 


attack  shelled  the  town  from  the  ridge  to  the  east.  On  Hill  468  Lieu- 
tenant Norbert  F.  Krob  moved  his  tanks  forward  and  returned  fire. 
The  first  round  from  the  American  armor  sheared  the  barrel  off  one 
of  the  self-propelled  guns  and  the  remaining  piece  was  damaged  by 
the  tank  destroyer  south  of  town.  This  last  enemy  vehicle  withdrew 
in  flames  followed  by  the  few  SS  troopers  who  survived  the  assault. 

After  the  attack,  Lieutenant  Hammer  received  a  radio  message  from 
his  company  CP  informing  him  that  heavy  casualties  were  being  suf- 
fered from  enemy  artillery  that  had  continued  to  fall  on  the  position 
since  its  capture.  Eighteen  men  had  been  hit  including  Sergeant 
Paluszynski  and  Sergeant  Schwemer.  In  conference  with  Captain 
Griffin,  both  company  commanders  agreed  that  their  combined 
strength  was  barely  sufficient  to  beat  back  another  hostile  thrust.  This 
situation  was  reported  to  Major  Maixner  by  the  CO  of  Company  C, 
who  requested  permission  to  leave  a  small  force  on  Hill  468  and  rein- 
force Schomerich  with  the  larger  part  of  his  company.  The  battalion 
commander  consented.  This  decision  proved  sound,  for  Company  F 
id  Hen  tern  had  received  a  message  via  SCR- 300  from  the  platoon  in 
Kummelerhof  stating  German  self-propelled  guns  were  moving  up  to 
the  one  house  they  held,  firing  into  the  windows.  Practically  all  the 
Americans  were  wounded  and  their  ammunition  was  exhausted.  There 
was  nothing  further  they  could  do. 

Throughout  the  day  Captain  Edwards  had  been  attempting  to  round 
up  fragments  of  Company  I.  Part  of  his  1st  Platoon  was  in  the  south- 
eastern edge  of  Lampaden,  having  been  driven  out  of  Lampadener 
Muhle  before  daylight.  The  rest  of  this  unit  and  a  section  of  machine 
guns  from  Company  M  were  somewhere  to  the  front.  The  2d  Platoon, 
which  had  been  holding  the  center  of  the  company  line,  had  been  cut 
up  by  infiltrating  SS  troopers  and  some  of  the  men  from  this  platoon 
had  been  able  to  work  their  way  back  into  town.  Company  I's  3d 
Platoon  was  on  the  forward  slope  of  the  ridge  to  the  north,  under 
machine-gun  fire  from  both  flanks.  One  light  machine  gun  had  to  be 
abandoned  and  the  other  was  cut  off  with  a  section  of  heavy  machine 
guns,  east  of  Lampaden  on  the  right  flank  of  the  2d  Platoon.  Sergeant 
Bondi  led  forward  a  squad  and  a  half  to  reinforce  the  2d  Platoon. 
En  route  a  German  automatic  weapon  stalled  the  advance  until  driven 
off  by  one  of  the  tanks  supporting  the  3d  Battalion.  Then  the  party 
moved  forward  attempting  to  re-form  the  line.  Later  it  became  neces- 
sary to  withdraw  to  establish  a  new  perimeter  on  the  edge  of  Lampa- 
den. Staff  Sergeant  John  R.  Routh  and  a  BAR  team  remained  in  posi- 


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tion  on  Hill  464  until  late  in  the  afternoon  before  being  located  and 
ordered  into  town. 

Meanwhile,  several  attempts  were  made  to  reach  the  3d  Platoon  on 
the  left.  Lieutenant  John  W.  Bybee,  commanding  this  platoon,  had 
left  the  position  prior  to  the  attack  to  contact  the  company  CP  and  was 
thus  separated  from  his  men.  On  three  separate  occasions  he  attempted 
to  rejoin  his  platoon,  but  each  time  was  stopped  by  the  machine-gun 
fire  raking  the  forward  slope  of  the  ridge.  After  daylight  Technician 
Fifth  Grade  William  T.  Raley,  who  was  with  the  platoon,  volun- 
teered to  make  a  break  for  Lampaden  to  report  on  the  situation.  In  a 
wild  dash  from  the  right  flank,  he  reached  the  edge  of  the  woods  and 
worked  his  way  into  town.  Twice  the  corporal  attempted  to  rejoin 
Technical  Sergeant  Leland  B.  McKee  and  the  rest  of  the  platoon  with- 
out success.  The  enemy  automatic  weapons  were  perfectly  sited  and 
their  crews  alert. 

After  relieving  Obersehr,  the  two  squads  of  Company  L  which  had 
been  under  Lieutenant  Cerboskas  were  placed  on  the  flanks  of  Ser- 
geant Orr's  position  atop  Hill  500.  Along  with  the  remnants  of  the 
1st  and  2d  Platoons  of  Company  I,  the  battalion  A&P  Platoon  pro- 
tected the  southern  and  eastern  approaches  to  Lampaden,  while  Com- 
pany L,  assisted  by  Sergeant  Felicelli's  force,  guarded  the  rear  of  town. 

Late  in  the  afternoon  Company  B  of  the  302d  and  its  supporting 
tanks  reached  Steinbach.  Here  the  3d  Platoon  deployed  and  moved 
across  the  open  ground  east  of  the  Zerf-Pellingen  highway,  followed 
by  the  tanks,  while  the  1st  Platoon  came  abreast  on  the  left  to  clear 
the  strip  of  woods  on  that  flank.  Almost  immediately  intense  machine- 
gun  fire  was  received  from  Hill  507  to  the  north  and  Schtneisser  fire 
was  directed  against  the  3d  Platoon  from  both  sides  of  the  highway. 
The  tank  on  the  extreme  left  was  struck  by  a  Panzerfaust  and  de- 
stroyed. It  soon  became  evident  that  the  German  roadblock  was  too 
strong  to  be  reduced  by  a  single  company.  This  fact  was  reported  to 
regiment  and  Captain  Wancio  was  instructed  to  assume  a  defensive 
position  north  of  Steinbach  for  the  night. 

In  preparation  for  any  renewal  of  the  attack  by  the  enemy,  the  CO 
of  the  3d  Battalion  continued  to  straighten  his  lines.  By  late  afternoon 
the  most  worrisome  problem  was  the  German  machine  gun  in  the 
cemetery  along  the  road  to  Obersehr.  This  determined  enemy  force 
had  driven  back  three  attacks  and  continued  to  cut  off  the  3d  Platoon 
of  Company  I  and  harass  the  line  held  by  Company  L  and  elements 


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385 


of  the  Battalion  Headquarters  Company.  Against  this  position  Ser- 
geant Orr  on  Hill  500  was  instructed  to  send  an  assault  group  to 
eliminate  it.  Consequently,  Staff  Sergeant  Cecil  F.  Durrette  and  the 
1st  Squad  worked  in  from  the  northwest  of  the  cemetery,  while  Ser- 
geant Mertz,  commanding  one  of  the  supporting  tanks,  rolled  up  from 
the  southwest.  Between  these  two  forces,  the  troublesome  strongpoint 
was  reduced  and  the  surrounding  area  cleared. 

After  their  phone  lines  went  dead,  Lieutenant  William  J.  Honan  of 
Company  M  had  anxiously  waited  for  someone  to  report  back  from 
his  machine-gun  sections.  Time  passed  and  still  there  was  no  contact. 
The  Weapons  Platoon  leader  had  decided  to  go  forward  to  personally 
investigate  the  situation  when  he  encountered  Sergeant  Walter  L. 
Cranford  of  Company  I  who  was  concerned  over  the  safety  of  some 
of  his  men.  Arming  himself  with  a  light  machine  gun,  Lieutenant 
Honan  took  Sergeant  Cranford  with  him  as  he  moved  out  of  Lampa- 
den,  paralleling  the  road  running  east  from  town.  On  the  southern 
end  of  Hill  464,  they  found  Sergeant  Wallace  M.  Gallant  along  with 
three  of  his  men  manning  the  right  gun  of  their  section.  The  left  gun 
was  in  its  emplacement  and  still  in  operating  condition.  Sergeant 
Gallant  and  his  crew  reported  they  had  been  firing  on  groups  of  Ger- 
mans in  front  of  this  position  all  day.  To  conserve  ammunition,  the 
NCO  employed  his  carbine  against  individuals  while  saving  the  HMG 
for  more  renumerative  targets.  This  small  group  had  even  managed  to 
capture  six  prisoners.  Farther  away,  Private  First  Class  Paul  W.  Chap- 
man and  his  crew  were  found,  still  in  action,  at  their  light-machine- 
gun  position.  Lieutenant  Honan  ordered  all  three  guns  and  the  crews 
back  into  Lampaden.  Then,  with  sheer  contempt  for  the  enemy,  he 
stood  in  a  completely  exposed  position,  firing  his  machine  gun  from 
the  hip  to  cover  their  withdrawal.  Following  this,  the  lieutenant  and 
Sergeant  Cranford  started  a  search  for  the  other  HMG  section  of  the 
platoon.  Several  times  the  two  men  were  engaged  by  groups  of  SS 
troopers,  but  on  each  occasion  Lieutenant  Honan  fought  it  out  with 
the  enemy,  firing  his  machine  gun  like  a  BAR. 

When  a  thorough  search  of  the  area  in  which  the  section  had  been 
emplaced  revealed  no  trace  of  the  machine  gunners,  their  weapons  or 
supporting  riflemen,  the  two-man  search  party  withdrew  to  Lampaden. 
Unknown  to  Lieutenant  Honan,  the  missing  section  was  working  its 
way  back  to  town  over  a  circuitious  route  carrying  the  guns  with  them. 

Under  the  cover  of  darkness  Staff  Sergeant  Brice  P.  Potthoff  and  his 
rifle  squad  of  company  I  worked  their  way  back  to  Lampaden.  They 
had  remained  in  position  all  day,  firing  on  the  Germans  that  appeared 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


to  their  front  and  flanks.  Having  had  no  word  from  the  rest  of  the 
company  and  no  idea  of  the  situation,  the  squad  leader  withdrew  from 
his  isolated  position  before  his  men  were  accurately  located  and  over- 
whelmed. 

Lieutenant  Bybee  and  Corporal  Raley  made  a  last  attempt  to  reach 
the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  I  after  nightfall.  In  the  darkness  they 
managed  to  cross  the  ridge,  but  were  met  with  German  automatic- 
weapons  fire  coming  from  the  foxholes  that  had  been  manned  by  their 
platoon.  Obviously,  the  group  had  been  either  killed  or  captured 
sometime  during  the  day  by  the  German  mountain  troops.  When  this 
was  reported  to  the  battalion  commander,  Lieutenant  Bybee  was  in- 
structed to  form  a  composite  platoon  from  the  cooks  and  headquarters 
personnel  of  Companies  I  and  M  and  commit  them  in  the  gap  between 
the  A&P  Platoon  on  the  ridge  and  elements  of  Company  I  in  the 
western  edge  of  Lampaden.  At  the  same  time  Lieutenant  Travers  of 
Company  L  formed  his  mess  and  supply  personnel  into  a  rifle  squad, 
posting  them  on  the  southern  edge  of  the  village.  With  a  perimeter 
thus  completed,  the  3d  Battalion  settled  down  to  await  the  next  Ger- 
man attack. 

During  the  night,  Private  First  Class  Daniel  W.  Aman  and  Private 
Harry  R.  Ellis  of  Sergeant  Stockman's  squad  of  the  1st  Platoon,  Com- 
pany L,  crawled  over  the  ridge  to  safety.  Both  men  were  wounded  and 
believed  the  other  nine  men  of  the  squad  were  dead.  This  group  had 
been  cut  down  by  enemy  machine-gun  fire.  Following  this,  SS  troopers 
came  forward  and  shot  up  the  Americans  whose  bodies  were  kicked, 
spat  upon  and  stripped  of  personal  articles.  Sergeant  John  Gedaminski, 
who  was  still  living  was  riddled  with  fire  from  a  machine  pistol.  Aman 
and  Ellis  survived  by  feigned  death  until  the  coming  of  nightfall. 


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HEADQUARTERS  XX  CORPS 
Office  of  the  Commanding  General 
APO  340       U.  S.  Army 

5  March  1945 

SUBJECT:  Commendation. 

TO  :  Commanding  General,  94th  Infantry  Division,  APO 

94,  U.  S.  Army. 

1.  Your  division  has  most  expeditiously  accomplished  its  mission 
of  clearing  the  Saar-Moselle  triangle  and  seizing  a  bridgehead  east 
of  the  Saar  River.  In  so  doing,  it  made  a  vital  contribution  to  the 
capture  of  the  fortified  town  of  Trier. 

2.  The  aggressive  and  efficient  manner  in  which  these  missions 
have  been  carried  out  reflects  great  credit  upon  the  division  in  keep- 
ing with  the  high  traditions  of  the  service  and  upon  you  as  its 
Commanding  General. 

3.  Your  ability  to  rapidly  take  advantage  of  opportunities  with- 
out becoming  involved  in  unwarranted  delay  has  contributed  sub- 
stantially to  the  successful  accomplishment  of  your  mission. 

4.  You  and  the  personnel  of  your  command  are  hereby  highly 
commended  for  your  splendid  performance  of  duty  during  this 
operation. 

WALTON  H.  WALKER 
Major  General, 
United  States  Army 
Commanding 

1st  Ind. 

AG  201.22  (5Mar45)  CG 

HQ  94  INF  DIV  APO  94  US  ARMY  28  Mar  45. 

TO:  All  soldiers  of  the  94th  Division  and  Attached  Units. 

1.  This  commendation  from  our  Corps  Commander  has  been 
earned  by  the  splendid  efforts  of  each  one  of  you  individually  and 
of  these  efforts  I  am  fully  aware, 

2.  I  take  great  pleasure  in  transmitting  this  letter  to  each  mem- 
ber of  this  command.  It  may  be  mailed  to  the  United  States  pro- 
vided no  changes  are  made  in  it. 

HARRY  /.  MALONY 
Major  General,  U.S.  Army 
Commanding 


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Chapter  37:  RESTORING  THE  BRIDGEHEAD 


BY  1700  HOURS  on  the  6th  of  March,  the  front  of  the  94th 
Division  was  in  fairly  good  order.  The  3d  Battalion,  301st, 
still  held  its  positions  on  Muhlenberg.  The  2d  Battalion,  302d, 
had  restored  all  of  its  sector  with  the  exception  of  the  outpost  at 
Kummelerhof.  Farther  north,  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  reported  its 
position  tenable  although  no  attempt  had  been  made  to  restore  the 
original  line  in  front  of  Lampaden.  On  the  extreme  left  flank  of  the 
Division,  the  3d  Cavalry  Group  was  maintaining  its  front.  Only  sub- 
stantial gain  to  the  enemy  resulting  from  the  fanatical  attack  of  the 
mountaineers  was  the  roadblock  on  the  Zerf-Pellingen  road  at  Drei- 
kopf,  which  was  now  known  to  be  held  by  a  strong  German  force. 

General  Malony  was  particularly  anxious  to  wipe  out  the  SS  troopers 
manning  the  roadblock  behind  his  lines,  so  that  the  scheduled  relief 
by  the  26th  Division  might  be  completed  and  the  tired  troops  of  the 
94th  might  move  to  the  Luxembourg  rest  area.  To  eliminate  this  SS 
group  astride  the  Zerf-Pellingen  road,  the  CO  of  the  376th  Infantry, 
which  was  in  reserve  near  Oberemmel,  was  instructed  to  commit  a 
battalion  against  the  Dreikopf  position.  The  1st  Battalion  was  se- 
lected for  this  mission  and  instructed  to  attack  south  from  Pellingen, 
in  conjunction  with  a  northward  thrust  by  Company  B  of  the  302d 
from  its  defensive  positions  above  Steinbach. 

Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  jeeped  to  Pellingen  for  a  reconnaissance 
while  his  troops  started  marching  toward  the  town  where  a  platoon 
of  medium  tanks  were  to  meet  them.  About  dark  the  leading  elements 
of  the  battalion  arrived  at  the  road  junction  south  of  Pellingen.  Com- 
pany A,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Joseph  T.  Koshoffer,  started  south 
astride  the  Zerf-Pellingen  highway  to  gain  contact  with  the  enemy. 
Company  C,  under  Lieutenant  William  P.  Springer,  followed.  When 
the  leading  unit  halted  north  of  Dreikopf  to  allow  its  flank  patrols 
to  return,  Lieutenant  Springer  deployed  his  company  to  protect  the  left 
of  the  battalion.  At  the  same  time,  patrols  were  sent  out  from  Com- 
pany C  to  gain  contact  with  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  in  Obersehr  and 
Lampaden.  Meanwhile,  Company  B  led  by  Lieutenant  William  G. 
Land,  passed  through  Company  A.  It  pushed  south,  on  the  west  of 
the  highway,  as  far  as  the  small  ridge  opposite  Dreikopf.  Company  A 
then  came  abreast  of  Lieutenant  Land's  men,  taking  positions  east  of 
the  Zerf-Pellingen  road. 

Lieutenant  Carl  A.  Crouse  led  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  B  down 
the  wooded  draw  that  extended  in  the  direction  of  the  Zerf-Pellingen 
road.  In  the  darkness  the  area  was  searched  without  encountering  any 
Germans.  At  the  head  of  the  draw,  the  platoon  took  a  crescent-shaped 

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position  in  the  edge  of  the  woods,  facing  south  toward  Hill  507  and 
southeast  toward  the  highway.  A  second  patrol,  from  Technical  Ser- 
geant John  F.  Nagy's  3d  Platoon,  started  south  down  the  highway  in 
an  attempt  to  contact  Company  B  of  the  302d.  Running  into  heavy 
fire,  this  group  was  unable  to  accomplish  its  mission.  The  patrols  from 
Company  C  attempting  to  gain  contact  with  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Cloudt's  men  met  with  no  better  success.  A  reconnaissance  group 
under  Sergeant  Herbert  L.  Monroe,  moving  toward  Lampaden  at 
about  2200  hours,  stopped  when  a  voice  was  heard  in  the  darkness. 
It  proved  to  be  a  German  soldier  complaining  about  the  bad  weather 
and  the  amount  of  water  in  his  foxhole.  Another  group  under  Ser- 
geant Harold  P.  Price  using  the  same  general  route  about  0200  hours 
was  stopped  by  the  volume  of  enemy  small-arms  fire  employed  against 
it. 

Even  after  the  return  of  the  patrols,  the  situation  remained  sketchy. 
The  battalion  commander  decided  to  attack  as  soon  as  possible  on  the 
morning  of  the  7th  and  gave  word  that  he  was  to  be  notified  imme- 
diately when  the  supporting  armor  arrived. 

During  the  night  the  356th  Field  Artillery,  from  positions  forward 
of  Oberemmel,  continued  harassing  missions  on  the  draws  in  front  of 
the  positions  of  the  2d  and  3d  Battalions,  302d,  in  spite  of  the  presence 
of  Germans  on  the  ridge  1,500  yards  to  their  front.  By  morning,  the 
battalion  was  also  engaging  the  enemy  roadblock  itself,  through  the 
liaison  officer  of  the  919th  Field  Artillery  Battalion  with  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Miner's  Battalion. 

Along  the  southern  portion  of  the  division  front,  the  relief  by  the 
26th  Division  began  according  to  schedule  on  the  night  of  the  6th. 
The  328th  Infantry  Regiment  took  over  the  sector  of  Colonel  Hagerty's 
men  while  the  101st  and  104th  Regiments  waited  their  turn  to  move 
into  the  bridgehead.  With  the  3d  Battalion,  376th  replacing  its  own 
3d  Battalion,  the  301st  Infantry  moved  from  the  lines  and  across  the 
Moselle  along  with  the  301st  Field  Artillery,  the  Rangers,  the  319th 
Engineers  less  Company  B,  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop,  Battery  B 
of  the  465th  AAA  Battalion  and  miscellaneous  service  units.  The  night 
was  extremely  black.  Slowly  the  columns  crawled  over  the  hills  and 
through  the  blasted  towns  under  the  guidance  of  the  military  police. 
Throughout  the  night,  the  Division  signalmen  laid  wire  from  Saarburg 
to  Mondorf  in  Luxembourg,  that  communications  would  be  in  place 
when  Division  Headquarters  was  ready  to  move. 


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390 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


On  the  night  of  March  6-7  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  was  not  the 
only  one  preparing  an  attack.  Having  taken  stock  of  the  situation, 
the  commanding  general  of  the  SS  troopers  decided  on  further  offensive 
action.  The  I  Battalion  of  the  11th  at  Dreikopf  had  not  yet  received 
a  major  attack  from  the  Americans,  but  exploitation  of  its  success  was 
impossible  since  the  three  other  mountain  battalions  had  been  all  but 
annihilated.  Still  uncommitted  were  the  I  and  III  Battalions  of  the 
12th  SS  Mountain  Regiment.  Therefore,  the  German  general  decided 
to  employ  the  battered  remnants  of  the  11th  Regiment  for  another 
thrust  at  Lampaden.  Their  orders  called  for  the  capture  of  the  town 
and  a  junction  with  the  I  Battalion  on  Dreikopf,  by  an  attack  which 
would  jump  off  at  0400  hours  the  following  morning.  Were  this 
thrust  successful,  the  two  fresh  battalions  of  the  12th  SS  Mountain 
Regiment  would  be  committed  to  exploit  the  German  gains. 

In  the  cold,  foggy,  early  hours  of  the  7th,  the  German  attack  got 
under  way.  The  mountaineers,  directly  supported  by  self-propelled 
assault  guns,  advanced  against  the  east  and  south  sides  of  Lampaden 
following  a  blistering  preparation  by  massed  rocket,  mortar  and  artil- 
lery fire. 

Within  the  town,  the  conglomerate  American  forces  waited  for  their 
first  glimpse  of  the  mountaineers  through  the  fog.  To  their  front,  the 
105s  of  the  American  artillery  probed  and  stabbed  the  darkness.  Fight- 
ing really  began  when  the  leading  German  assault  gun  cut  loose  on 
the  houses  in  the  eastern  edge  of  the  village.  Technical  Sergeant 
James  T.  Chapman  replied  with  fire  from  the  57mm  manned  by  the 
1st  Squad  of  the  battalion  Antitank  Platoon.  A  duel  followed,  in 
which  the  opposing  gunners  engaged  each  other's  muzzle  flashes. 
Lieutenant  Charles  H.  Pausner,  Jr.,  concentrated  the  fire  of  his  artillery 
on  the  open  ground  east  of  town  while  Captain  Benjamin  F.  Buffing- 
ton,  at  the  battalion  CP,  dickered  for  heavier  stuff  from  the  390th 
Field  Artillery  Battalion.  As  darkness  lifted  and  the  mists  began  to 
thin,  the  outer  edge  of  Lampaden  spit  fire  and  flame.  Sergeant  Gallant 
from  his  machine-gun  position  on  a  manure  pile  poured  burst  after 
burst  into  the  oncoming  ranks  of  the  attackers.  Sergeant  Chapman's 
crew  slammed  out  every  last  round  of  57mm  ammunition  at  their  posi- 
tion. Lieutenant  Honan  and  Private  First  Class  William  T.  Baxter, 
each  manned  a  60mm  mortar  singlehanded  to  plaster  the  attackers. 
Lieutenant  Douglas  H.  Smith  spotted  six  SS  men  behind  a  haystack 
and  dropped  a  round  of  81mm  squarely  on  top  of  them.  Riflemen, 
machine  gunners,  mortar  crews,  antitankers,  tank  destroyermen  and 


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391 


artillerymen  contributed  to  the  curtain  of  fire  that  denied  the  village 
to  the  mountaineers. 

In  the  meantime,  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  had  started  its  attack 
southward  against  the  Dreikopf  roadblock.  Company  B  was  desig- 
nated to  clear  Hill  507  which  was  now  believed  to  be  the  enemy's 
main  position.  This  assault  was  launched  by  the  2d  and  3d  Platoons 
which  advanced  astride  the  Zerf-Pellingen  highway,  each  supported 
by  four  medium  tanks.  Sergeant  Nagy,  on  the  right,  moved  the  3d 
Platoon  forward  slowly  through  the  fog.  Control  and  contact  became 
increasingly  difficult  and  then  the  Germans  struck.  Withering  auto- 
matic weapons  fire  was  thrown  against  the  platoon.  Vainly  the  tankers 
peered  into  the  mists  trying  to  locate  the  enemy  gunners.  Determined 
SS  troopers  slipped  up  in  the  fog  to  employ  bazookas  and  Panzerfausts 
against  the  Shermans.  Two  tanks  were  destroyed  and  a  third  damaged. 
In  the  face  of  this  opposition,  the  platoon  and  the  remaining  tank 
withdrew  to  reorganize.  The  2d  Platoon  fared  no  better.  Just  after 
crossing  the  line  of  departure,  both  infantry  and  tanks  were  hit  from 
the  left  flank.  Two  of  the  armored  vehicles  fell  prey  to  the  enemy 
tank  hunters  and  the  remainder  of  the  force  withdrew. » 

About  0900  hours  the  remains  of  the  11th  SS  Mountain  Regiment 
in  front  of  Lampaden  made  their  do-or-die  assault.  Their  self-pro- 
pelled guns  pounded  the  village,  reducing  several  buildings  to  mere 
heaps  of  rubble  and  setting  fire  to  the  schoolhouse.  Taking  advantage 
of  the  added  confusion  caused  by  the  fire,  the  assault  weapons  swept 
into  town.  At  the  road  junction  in  the  eastern  section  of  Lampaden, 
Lieutenant  Charles  M.  Phillips  had  placed  an  American  tank  mounting 
a  76mm  gun.  This  weapon  commanded  the  roads  leading  into  the 
village  from  the  east  and  the  southeast.  It  was  so  sited,  that  should 
it  be  knocked  out,  it  would  serve  as  a  roadblock  to  prevent  farther 
advance  by  German  assault  weapons  or  tanks.  The  enemy  gunners 
scored  first  and  pumped  three  rounds  into  the  tank,  which,  though  it 
became  a  total  loss,  prevented  enemy  vehicles  from  entering  Lampaden. 
Even  without  the  support  of  their  self-propelled  guns,  the  SS  troopers 
succeeded  in  taking  seven  or  eight  buildings  from  which  they  pushed 
toward  the  church  in  the  center  of  town. 

It  was  at  this  point  that  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt  instructed  the 
Battalion  S-4,  Lieutenant  Warren  C.  Hubbard,  to  attempt  to  get 
through  to  regiment  to  explain  the  seriousness  of  the  situation.  Also, 
the  S-4  was  to  endeavor  to  secure  a  quick  resupply  on  ammunition. 
Borrowing  a  half-track  from  the  tank  destroyers,  Lieutenant  Hubbard, 


Original  from 
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.luckily  failed  to do  my  serious  though  concuss  km  of  I 

plosion  forced  the  half -track  to  s.werve'  off  - the  read  to  the  left: 


its  ex- 
The 


B;uk  m  iampaden,  odd  groups  of  the  3d  l^tialKm  were  busy  deaci- 
ing  up  the  i&wtt..  Private  First  .Class  Baxter,:  pmc  to  the  ammunition/ 


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393 


organized  a  small  force  which  he  led  in  a  fierce  assault  against  one  of 
the  houses  the  enemy  had  occupied.  By  use  of  small  arms  and  gre- 
nades, the  building  was  retaken  and  the  SS  troops  defending  it  elimi- 
nated. Meanwhile,  Sergeant  Kelly  led  a  clearing  party  that  went  to 
work  on  the  German-held  buildings  across  the  road  from  the  church. 
At  the  same  time,  Staff  Sergeant  George  L.  Brinkerhoff  and  Private 
First  Class  Louis  A.  Albert  of  the  battalion  S-3  section  were  mopping 
up  east  of  the  church.  This  last  attack  of  the  11th  SS  Mountain  Regi- 
ment cost  them  five  assault  guns  destroyed  and  two  more  damaged; 
thirty-five  men  killed  and  forty  captured.  Lampaden  remained  in 
American  hands. 

During  the  morning,  the  size  of  the  enemy  force  holding  Dreikopf 
was  accurately  determined  when  Major  A.  H.  Middleton  of  the  Division 
artillery  flew  over  the  position  in  a  liaison  plane.  A  low  ceiling  neces- 
sitated flying  at  about  five  hundred  feet  which  gave  a  good  view  of  the 
area.  On  the  second  pass,  a  plane  from  the  195th  Field  Artillery 
Group  joined  the  major  and  both  ships  received  a  heavy  volume  of  fire 
from  the  ground.  The  observer  in  the  195th  Cub  was  killed  and  Major 
Middleton's  plane  sustained  thirty-five  hits.  However,  both  ships 
managed  to  land  without  crashing.  Major  Middleton  reported  that 
the  I  Battalion,  11th  SS  Mountain  Regiment,  numbered  approximately 
four  hundred  men. 

Supported  by  four  medium  tanks,  Company  B  made  its  second 
assault  against  Hill  507  during  the  afternoon.  The  2d  and  3d  Platoons 
moved  on  their  objective  from  the  northeast  with  the  riflemen  abreast 
of  the  tanks.  Against  this  advance  the  mountaineers  directed  a  fear- 
some volume  of  fire.  Panzerfausts  and  the  turret  gun  of  one  of  the 
knocked-out  American  tanks  were  brought  to  bear  against  the  armor, 
while  the  foot  troops  were  the  targets  of  numerous  machine  guns  and 
Schmeissers.  All  four  of  the  supporting  tanks  were  knocked  out;  the 
few  infantrymen  who  reached  the  objective  were  unable  to  hold  it. 
Before  the  support  platoon  could  be  committed,  the  impetus  of  the 
attack  was  broken;  the  survivors  were  withdrawn  to  their  original  lines. 
The  battalion  assumed  positions  for  the  night  and  considered  a  new 
plan. 

During  the  afternoon  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  was  brought  forward 
and  Company  F  attached  to  Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner's  command. 
Company  G,  followed  by  Company  E,  moved  across  country  toward 
Obersehr  which  the  leading  elements  reached  without  opposition  at 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


1640  hours.  By  1800  hours  the  entire  force  was  into  town,  preparing 
to  push  on  to  Lampaden.  The  scheme  of  maneuver  called  for  the  2d 
Battalion  less  Company  F,  to  plug  the  gap  in  the  ruptured  line  of  the 
3d  Battalion,  302d,  and  thus  stabilize  the  division  front. 

Company  G,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Harry  W.  McLaughlin  who 
had  joined  the  battalion  nine  days  earlier  at  Wiltingen,  moved  from 
Obersehr  via  the  road  west  of  Hill  500.  Scarcely  had  the  tail  of  the 
column  cleared  the  village  before  the  leading  elements  were  under 
accurate  automatic-weapons  fire  from  the  southwest.  Lieutenant 
McLaughlin  and  three  men  of  the  1st  Platoon  were  killed;  six  others 
wounded.  Assuming  command,  Lieutenant  Marvin  M.  Kuers  with- 
drew the  company  to  Obersehr  to  reorganize.  By  radio,  a  guide  was 
requested  from  Lampaden  and  Private  First  Class  Felix  J.  Grzyninski 
went  to  Obersehr  to  contact  the  CO  of  Company  G.  He  led  the  unit 
over  Hill  500  and  through  Company  L  into  town.  Uncertain  of  his 
mission  Lieutenant  Kuers  placed  himself  at  the  disposal  of  the  CO  of 
the  3d  Battalion,  302d.  The  company  was  instructed  to  assume  posi- 
tions on  the  high  ground  north  of  Lampaden  and  did  so  shortly  after 
midnight.  Company  E  remained  in  Obersehr. 

Lieutenant  Colonel  Miner  was  ordered  to  attack  again  on  the  morn- 
ing of  the  8th.  The  new  plan  of  operation  called  for  Company  C  to 
approach  Hill  507  from  the  west  while  Companies  A  and  B  launched 
an  assault  from  the  north.  To  the  south,  Company  B  of  the  302d 
would  block  any  attempt  by  the  enemy  to  withdraw  in  that  direction. 

Late  in  the  afternoon,  the  enemy  made  another  attempt  at  a  PW 
exchange  when  Lieutenant  Ramirez  and  a  German  sergeant  entered 
Lampaden  under  a  flag  of  truce.  Again  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt 
stalled  and  then  refused,  fearing  to  reinforce  the  enemy  position  with 
able-bodied  SS  troopers  familiar  with  the  situation  existing  in  and 
around  Lampaden.  From  the  negotiators  it  was  learned  that  the  num- 
ber of  Americans  wounded  at  Dreikopf  now  numbered  sixty-five. 
Lieutenant  Ramirez  was  given  a  supply  of  blankets,  drugs  and  bandages 
and  the  exchange  party  returned  after  dark. 

In  the  perimeter  of  the  German  battalion,  the  captured  Americans 
had  spent  a  rugged  day.  Those  who  were  able  watched  with  intense 
interest  the  attacks  of  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  and  were  dismayed  at 
the  destruction  wrought  on  the  tanks  supporting  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Miner's  men.  Several  times  the  unwounded  American  prisoners  were 
sent  forward  to  bring  in  the  casualties  of  both  sides.  During  the  after- 
noon and  all  through  the  night,  American  artillery  rained  on  the  posi- 


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tion  but  fortunately  none  of  the  rounds  fell  in  the  emplacement  serving 
as  a  POW  cage. 

With  the  coming  of  night  the  situation  began  to  look  critical  for  the 
SS  troopers.  They  had  beaten  off  two  heavy  attacks  from  the  north 
and  turned  back  minor  thrusts  on  the  Steinbach  road,  Hill  507  and 
Obersehr  road.  American  artillery  was  falling  on  the  position  with 
unnerving  regularity  and  at  any  time  a  strong,  combined  attack  might 
develop  from  anyone  of  several  different  directions.  Furthermore,  the 
only  route  of  withdrawal,  down  the  draw  to  the  east,  could  be  blocked 
off  at  any  time.  With  the  Americans  holding  Lampaden  and  Scho- 
merich  resupply  was  impossible.  The  battalion  had  been  without 
food  since  the  5th,  casualties  had  continued  to  mount,  medical  sup- 
plies were  exhausted  and  ammunition  was  dangerously  low.  More- 
over, five  of  the  six  mortars  with  the  battalion  had  been  knocked  out. 

Then,  to  the  German  commander,  came  orders  to  abandon  the  posi- 
tion. All  of  the  captured  American  vehicles,  with  the  exception  of  the 
ambulance,  were  immobilized  and  the  prisoners  who  were  able  to  walk 
were  prepared  for  departure.  Sergeant  Boyette  and  several  others 
feigned  sickness  and  were  left  with  the  litter  cases.  Technician  Fifth 
Grade  Case  and  Private  First  Class  Macon  were  allowed  to  remain 
behind  to  care  for  the  wounded,  both  American  and  German.  At  0600 
hours  on  the  morning  of  the  8th,  the  I  Battalion  of  the  11th  SS  Moun- 
tain Regiment  streamed  off  Dreikopf,  yielding  the  ground  for  which 
they  had  fought  so  bitterly.  The  wounded  counted  seventy-three  Ger- 
mans in  one  column  which  moved  east,  and  143  in  a  second  that  started 
southeast. 

Among  the  prisoners  the  Germans  took  with  them  when  they  aban- 
doned the  Dreikopf  position  was  Sergeant  Charles  J.  Mooney  of  Head- 
quarters Company,  3d  Battalion,  302d.  Part  of  his  story  is  quoted 
below. 

At  about  0500  hours  a  Jerry  woke  up  all  the  non-wounded  and  told  us  to 
help  carry  the  wounded.  We  filed  out  of  our  hole  and  went  to  the  hole  where 
their  wounded  were.  We  were  told  we  would  carry  the  wounded  on  stretchers 
about  five  kilometers  to  their  aid  station.  We  didn't  like  this  and  between 
Ferguson's  glib  tongue  and  my  aches  and  pains  we  impressed  the  captain  that 
we  all  had  trench  foot.  So  we  got  out  of  the  carrying  party.  You  no  doubt 
found  their  wounded  there. 

Then  this  captain  took  his  whole  outfit,  column  of  twos,  and  marched  out 
about  0630.  He  must  have  passed  right  between  our  lines.  We  passed  between 
two  towns  in  back  of  that  outpost  [Dreikopf].  A  Jerry  had  a  Schmeisser  in 
each  of  our  backs  and  demonstrated  what  he'd  do  if  we  yelled  out.  We  could 


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see  GIs  in  Lampaden  as  we  passed  to  the  right  of  it.  They  took  twelve  of 
us  non-wounded  and  left  something  like  forty-nine  wounded  Americans.  From 
there  on  we  just  walked.  Three  hundred  and  one  miles  to  our  final  stop 
about  thirty-five  kilometers  below  Augsburg.  Rub  became  very  sick  in  Augs- 
burg but  we  saw  that  he  was  placed  in  a  hospital.  I  can't  tell  you  too  much 
about  our  hike  from  Lampaden,  but  it  was  certainly  one  we'll  never  forget. 
We  ate  dandelions  and  snails,  rotten  potato  peelings  and  pig  mash.  Anything 
to  keep  us  going.  Miller  got  deathly  sick  on  dandelions  but  kept  going  every 
step  of  the  \/ay.  Six  of  us  stuck  close  together  and  we  got  along  all  right. 

After  we  were  liberated,  the  whole  bunch  [1,200  Americans  and  800  Brit- 
ish] were  put  on  a  big  farm.  The  rations  were  terrible,  so  we  decided  to  take 
off.  Pruett  and  Stoll  didn't  feel  like  going,  so  Ferg  and  I  decided  to  go  to 
the  biggest  town  nearby  and  "apartment  hunt,"  and  then  bring  in  the  rest  of 
the  guys  when  we  were  settled.  I  had  always  warned  the  guys  that  even  after 
we  were  liberated  we  would  have  to  sweat  out  another  week  or  ten  days  of 
no  food.  Nobody  seemed  to  give  a  good  goddamn  about  us  out  there. 

Four  of  us  took  over  a  twelve-room  mansion  complete  with  bath,  radios, 
electricity,  etc.  It  was  really  heaven.  Three  men  from  an  artillery  outfit  moved 
in  with  us  to  guard  a  warehouse  next  door.  So  we  ate  chow  with  them.  Their 
officer  took  quite  a  liking  to  us  and  got  us  clean  clothes.  Then  came  the  payoff. 
We  got  a  brand  new  motorcycle  from  a  Senegalese  for  one  pack  of  butts! 
This  we  used  for  contact  with  the  group  who  were  living  like  dogs  on  the 
farm. 

Ferg  and  I  lived  in  our  mansion  for  nine  days  and  left  it  on  the  morning 
of  the  day  we  flew  out.  Boy,  we  hated  to  give  up  that  cycle!  So  that's  it, 
now  we're  waiting  for  the  boat. 

Even  though  I'm  getting  home,  I  wouldn't  go  through  it  again  for  the 
same  promise.  Fergie  is  still  the  same  old  wit  and  Miller  turned  out  to  be 
a  pretty  square  guy.  Rub  proved  himself  to  be  the  stoutest-hearted  soldier 
I've  ever  known.  Nothing  was  too  tough  for  the  old  man  but  the  GIs  finally 
knocked  him  out.  He  was  a  real  Airedale. 

At  0745  hours,  Sergeant  Boyette  saw  two  American  riflemen  ap- 
proaching over  Hill  495,  toward  the  group  of  wounded  on  Dreikopf 
and  yelled  to  them.  They  failed  to  recognize  him,  and  hit  the  ground 
to  assume  firing  positions.  Technician  Fifth  Grade  Case  and  Private 
First  Class  Mason  then  approached  the  scouts,  waving  a  red  cross  flag 
taken  from  their  vehicle.  The  situation  was  explained  and  word  passed 
back  that  the  enemy  had  withdrawn  from  the  position.  Fire  of  the 
American  artillery  on  Dreikopf  was  speedily  lifted. 

One  of  the  2y2- ton  trucks  on  the  positions  was  repaired  without 
difficulty  and  this  vehicle  and  the  ambulance  were  loaded  with  the 
more  seriously  wounded  for  a  return  to  Lampaden  where  the  nearest 
aid  station  was  located.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt  was  informed  of 
the  new  development  and  soon  the  evacuation  of  both  wounded  and 
prisoners  from  Lampaden  and  Obersehr  was  in  full  swing.  Technician 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


Fourth  Grade  Joseph  F.  Gaynor  of  the  regimental  Medical  Detach- 
ment who  was  with  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  reported  the  following. 

There  were  many  German  wounded  who  insisted  on  being  carried  out  when 
a  truck  was  backed  up  to  evacute  them.  They  insisted  they  were  unable  to 
walk.  So  the  medics,  with  a  weary  acceptance  of  the  inevitable,  carried  them. 
The  truck  was  well  filled  with  Jerry  casualties  when  it  was  bracketed  with 
mortar  fire.  What  followed  came  nearer  to  breaking  our  spirits  than  any  of 
the  thousand  incidents  of  the  previous  twenty-four  hours.  Those  poor,  crip- 
pled, crying  Jerries  cleared  the  truck  and  found  cover  in  faster  time  than  it 
takes  to  tell  about  it  .  .  .  When  the  fire  lifted,  they  walked  to  the  truck. 

The  1st  Battalion,  376th,  with  Company  F  attached,  occupied  the 
Dreikopf  area  and  Company  B  of  the  302d  patrolled  the  Zerf-Pellin- 
gen  road.  A  reinforced  platoon  from  the  latter  company  was  sent  into 
Paschel. 

As  the  tactical  situation  eased,  the  CO  of  the  376th  took  the  oppor- 
tunity to  make  the  necessary  adjustments  in  command  personnel.  Lieu- 
tenant Colonel  Anderson  chose  as  his  Executive  Officer  Lieutenant 
Miner  of  the  1st  Battalion.  Major  Eskel  N.  Miller,  Jr.  was  transferred 
from  the  3d  Battalion  and  assumed  command  of  the  1st. 


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PART  SIX 

GERMANY:  THE  RACE  TO  THE  RHINE 


//  is  my  prejudiced  but  well  founded  belief 
that  the  three  actions  of  smashing  the  Siegfried 
Switch  Lme — clearing  the  Saar-Moselle  Tri- 
angle which  culminated  in  the  capture  of  Trier 
— forcing  the  Soar  Bridgehead,  and  the  ten-day 
drive  to  the  Rhine  were  the  outstanding  actions 
of  the  Third  Army's  advance  to  the  Rhine. 


MAJOR  GENERAL  HARRY  J.  MALONY 


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Chapter  38:  OUT  OF  THE  BRIDGEHEAD 


THE  DIVISION  was  half  in  and  half  out  of  the  line  on  the 
morning  of  March  8,  1945  when  the  Chief  of  Staff's  telephone 
rang  in  the  CP  at  Saarburg.  Colonel  Bergquist  picked  up  the 
receiver  and  heard  the  G-3  of  XX  Corps  say:  "We  have  a  change  in 
plans  and  we  don't  want  the  people  who  are  with  you  to  take  over 
any  more  of  the  zone  than  they  have  now.  .  .  .  You  are  to  hold  what 
you  have  and  rest  as  much  of  the  unit  that  is  out,  as  possible.  ...  I 
will  send  complete  details  up  to  you  by  your  liaison  officer  who  is  here. 
.  .  .  I  think  you  can  anticipate  what  is  up."  Colonel  Bergquist  replied 
that  he  understood  and  the  conversation  terminated.  The  relief  was  to 
be  halted;  a  new  attack  was  in  the  making. 

At  1215  hours  General  Walker  arrived  at  the  Division  command 
post  to  confer  with  General  Malony;  General  Paul,  the  CG  of  the  26th 
Division;  the  artillery  commanders  and  chiefs  of  staff  of  both  divisions. 
The  corps  commander  confirmed  the  news  of  the  impending  attack 
which  was  to  be  launched  sometime  in  the  next  few  days.  Following 
his  departure,  the  conference,  at  which  problems  arising  from  the 
change  in  plans  were  discussed  at  length,  continued.  With  the  southern 
boundary  of  the  94th  along  the  line  from  Saarburg  through  Zerf,  the 
bulk  of  the  26th  Division  was  in  General  Malony's  zone.  As  soon  as 
possible  the  101st  and  104th  Infantry  Regiments  would  have  to  be 
moved  south.  The  boundary  between  the  94th  Division  and  the  10th 
Armored  on  the  north  was  also  causing  trouble.  This  line,  which  ran 
from  Ockfen  to  Kastel,  gave  the  Division  a  frontage  of  some  ten  miles 
while  its  rear  area  tapered  down  to  about  two.  Therefore,  permission 
was  sought  and  obtained  for  the  94th  to  use  the  roadnet  south  of  a 
line  drawn  from  Konz-Karthaus  to  Kastel. 

As  originally  planned,  it  was  decided  to  relieve  the  3d  Battalion, 
301st,  since  a  portion  of  this  battalion's  area  was  in  the  26th  Division's 
zone.  The  301st  Infantry,  which  was  in  reserve,  was  to  return  to  the 
lines  to  take  over  the  front  of  the  302d.  The  latter  regiment  would 
then  become  Division  reserve  until  it  was  time  for  the  attack.  Third 
Cavalry  Group  was  to  shift  to  the  north  after  the  376th  relieved  their 
positions  on  the  left  of  Colonel  Hagerty's  regiment.  While  these 
changes  in  the  front  line  were  under  way,  the  artillery  would  move  for- 
ward and  service  units  would  cross  the  Saar  to  close  up  behind  the 
combat  troops.  In  close  column  by  night,  and  by  infiltration  during 
daylight  hours,  the  new  deployment  of  the  94th  and  26th  Divisions 
began. 

On  March  8,  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  which  was  already  reinforcing 

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the  northern  sector  of  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt's  battalion,  remained 
in  position.  Companies  K  and  L  of  the  301st,  now  on  the  left  flank 
of  the  26th  at  Zerf  and  Ober  Zerf,  were  relieved  by  the  2d  Battalion, 
104th,  while  Company  I  on  Muhlenberg  was  replaced  by  Company  A 
of  the  302d.  Third  Battalion,  301st,  pulled  back  to  Beurig.  The  relief 
continued  the  following  day  with  Company  A  and  the  2d  and  3d  Bat- 
talions of  the  302d  turning  their  sectors  over  to  the  1st  and  2d  Battal- 
ions, 301st,  which  were  brought  forward  from  the  rest  area,  while 
the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  assumed  the  positions  formerly  held  by  the 
3d  Cavalry  Group.  The  3d  Battalion,  376th,  moved  to  regimental 
reserve  at  Krettnach-Obermennig,  and  the  302d  Infantry  moved  across 
the  Saar  for  several  days  rest  in  Division  reserve.  The  778th  Tank- 
Battalion  moved  to  reserve  at  Tawern.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Sullivan's 
Ranger  battalion,  already  in  Luxembourg,  was  released  from  Division 
control  on  the  11th.  As  a  result  of  these  shifts  and  reliefs  the  line-up 
from  north  to  south  along  the  Ruwer  River  ran  as  follows:  3d  Cavalry 
Group;  1st  Battalion,  376th;  2d  Battalion,  376th;  1st  Battalion,  301st; 
2d  Battalion,  301st. 

XX  Corps'  plan  of  attack  called  for  a  push  to  the  east  as  far  as  the 
Nahe  River.  There  the  corps  was  to  turn  northeast,  attack  up  the  river 
valley  and  seize  successive  objectives  in  the  vicinity  of  Oberthal,  Ober- 
kirchen,  Meiseham,  Spreadingen  and  Mainz-Kastel.  The  3d  Cavalry 
Group,  on  the  left  of  the  94th,  was  to  protect  the  north  flank  of  XX 
Corps;  while  the  80th  Division,  passing  through  the  southern  elements 
of  the  94th  and  the  northern  elements  of  the  26th,  was  to  protect  the 
right  flank  as  it  moved  forward  parallel  to  General  Malony's  troops. 
Pushing  south,  along  the  Saar  River,  the  26th  Division  was  to  roll  up 
the  Siegfried  Line,  heading  toward  Merzig,  then  turn  east  toward  the 
Rhine  on  the  right  of  the  rest  of  the  corps. 

Within  the  Division,  the  thrust  eastward  was  to  be  made  by  the  302d 
Infantry  on  the  north  and  the  301st  on  the  south.  Contact  between 
the  right  of  Colonel  Hagerty's  regiment  and  the  left  of  the  80th  Divi- 
sion was  assigned  to  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop.  The  376th,  which 
was  already  on  line,  would  remain  in  place  until  passed  through  by 
Colonel  Johnson's  men  on  the  morning  of  the  attack.  It  would  then 
revert  to  Division  reserve.  From  their  positions  on  line,  Colonel 
Hagerty's  troops  were  to  jump  off  with  the  1st  and  2d  Battalions  in 
the  assault.  Hermeskeil  was  the  immediate  objective.  Each  of  the 
attacking  regiments  was  assigned  an  axis  of  advance  with  both  routes 
converging  on  the  above  town. 

On  the  night  of  the  12th,  last-minute  preparations  were  made  and 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


the  battalions  of  the  302d  Infantry  moved  to  their  forward  assembly 
areas  behind  Colonel  McClune's  front  line.  To  the  rear,  the  Division 
artillery  was  poised  for  the  attack.  Fofthe  initial  phase  of  the  opera- 
tion, the  cannon  companies  of  all  three  regiments  had  been  attached 
to  General  Fortier's  command.  In  addition,  the  artillerymen  were  to 
be  assisted  by  the  fire  power  of  the  5th  and  195th  Field  Artillery 
Groups.  Patrols  from  the  319th  Engineer  Battalion  had  conducted 
extensive  reconnaissance  for  suitable  bridge  sites  and  fords  over  the 
Ruwer  River  for  the  preceding  four  days.  Bulldozers  and  bridging 
equipment  had  been  brought  forward  and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Ellis* 
men  were  ready  for  the  coming  show. 

While  the  men  of  the  94th  Division  and  the  rest  of  XX  Corps  made 
final  preparations  for  this  attack,  back  in  Washington,  D.  C,  General 
of  the  Army  George  C.  Marshall,  Chief  of  Staff  of  the  United  States 
Army,  had  in  his  possession  a  letter  from  General  Eisenhower,  dated 
March  12,  1945,  which  in  part  was  concerned  with  the  coming  offensive: 

Tomorrow  morning  the  XX  Corps  of  Patton's  Army  begins  a  local  attack 
in  the  Trier  area  as  a  preliminary  to  the  general  attack  by  Seventh  Army  on 
the  15th  ...  If  we  can  get  a  quick  break-through,  the  advance  should  go 
very  rapidly  and  success  in  the  region  will  multiply  the  advantage  we  have 
secured  in  the  bridgehead  at  Remagen.  It  will  probably  be  a  nasty  business 
breaking  through  the  fortified  lines,  but  once  this  is  accomplished  losses  should 
not  be  great  and  we  should  capture  another  big  bag  of  prisoners.  I  have  given 
Seventh  Army  14  divisions  for  their  part  of  the  job,  and  XX  Corps  jumps 
off  with  four. 

At  0300  hours  on  the  morning  of  March  13,  1945,  the  stillness  of 
the  night  was  shattered  by  the  thunder  of  the  attack's  artillery  prepara- 
tion. Corps  and  division  battalions  unleashed  the  might  of  their  guns 
and  the  initial  volley  of  the  105s,  155s,  240s  and  8-inch  weapons  hit 
the  designated  target  area  at  the  same  split  second.  For  fifteen  minutes 
this  hellish  fire  continued,  blasting  enemy  personnel,  communications 
and  materiel. 

Within  the  2d  Battalion,  302d,  Companies  E  and  F  had  been  desig- 
nated to  lead  the  attack.  The  machine  guns  of  Company  H  were 
divided  between  the  assault  companies  and  the  81mm  mortars  contri- 
buted direct  support.  Lieutenant  Thomas  J.  Wellems'  platoon  of  Com- 
pany B  of  the  319th  Engineers  was  attached  to  the  battalion  and  pre- 
pared to  assist  the  leading  elements  by  clearing  mines  or  preparing 
demolitions.  Company  G,  in  reserve,  was  to  join  the  battalion  at  Schon- 
dorf,  which  was  the  immediate  objective. 

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side  of  the  Ruwer,  the  two  assault  units,  led  by  Company  F  in  a  column 
of  platoons,  moved  to  the  river  directly  east  of  Geizenburg.  Short  of 
the  river,  the  head  of  the  column  halted  momentarily.  Instinctively 
some  of  the  men  moved  toward  the  ditches  paralleling  the  road.  A 
series  of  loud  explosions  followed  and  the  cry  "Schii  mines!"  passed 
down  the  files.  Quickly  ascertaining  the  extent  of  the  minefield,  Lieu- 
tenant Wellems  set  his  engineers  to  work.  Eight  infantrymen  and  five 
engineers  fell  victim  to  this  first  enemy  obstacle. 

Then  the  advance  continued  as  the  troops  waded  the  Ruwer,  hip- 
deep  in  the  swirling  waters.  As  Company  F  gained  the  far  shore,  the 
scouts  passed  back  word  that  German  voices  could  be  heard  to  the 
front.  Captain  Kops  came  forward  and,  after  speaking  to  the  enemy 
in  their  own  language,  convinced  them  they  should  surrender.  Mean- 
while, Company  E  had  crossed,  deployed  and  pushed  forward  some 
two  hundred  yards  before  it  encountered  rifle,  machine-gun  and  88mm 
fire  coming  from  the  high  ground  northeast  of  Schondorf .  As  the  com- 
pany continued  forward  dispite  this  fire,  a  direct  hit  by  an  88  knocked 
out  one  section  of  HMGs. 

After  the  first  prisoners  taken  by  Company  F  were  searched  and  sent 
to  the  rear  under  guard,  the  advance  resumed.  Within  a  hundred  yards, 
the  leading  platoon  was  engaged  by  an  enemy  machine  gun  located  in 
a  house  to  the  right  front  of  the  company.  A  base  of  fire  was  estab- 
lished and  the  2d  Squad  of  the  3d  Platoon  moved  to  outflank  the  Ger- 
man weapon.  This  maneuvering  element  was  picked  up  by  a  40mm 
gun  crew  who  engaged  the  squad  as  it  advanced  by  rushes.  By  0800 
hours  the  squad  had  knocked  out  the  machine  gun  and  taken  twenty 
prisoners.  Following  this,  the  company  continued  along  the  winding 
road  leading  into  Schondorf.  When  a  77mm  enemy  gun  engaged  the 
advancing  column,  Sergeant  Paul  E.  Pflueger  led  his  men  against  it, 
speedily  silencing  the  weapon. 

As  the  two  companies  approached  Schondorf,  they  were  again 
brought  under  fire.  The  leading  platoon  of  Company  F  had  gained  a 
foothold  in  town  and  a  second  platoon,  organized  into  assault  groups, 
was  about  to  be  committed  when  two  Americans  were  seen  approaching 
from  the  direction  of  the  enemy  lines.  These  men,  Staff  Sergeant  Gil- 
bert E.  Kenyon  and  Sergeant  Malcolm  R.  Horton,  reported  that  after 
accounting  for  a  couple  of  Germans  they  had  worked  their  way  into 
town  and  found  the  Germans  in  the  process  of  evacuating.  By  1730 
hours  the  town  was  completely  searched  and  outposted. 

During  the  morning,  the  1st  Battalion  of  Colonel  Johnson's  regi- 
ment was  ordered  from  its  assembly  area  in  the  vicinity  of  Franzen- 


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404  THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 

heim.  Engineer  reconnaissance  had  located  a  ford  near  Gusterath,  in 
the  vicinity  of  a  bridge  blown  by  the  enemy.  This  bridge  was  judged 
repairable  while  beyond  the  river  were  two  wooded  draws  leading 
toward  Bonerath.  Therefore,  at  about  1000  hours  Company  B  was 
sent  forward  to  secure  this  crossing  for  the  battalion.  Captain  Wancio's 
men,  approaching  the  river  cautiously,  easily  avoided  the  hasty  mine- 
field laid  by  the  Germans  and  gained  the  far  shore  without  opposition. 
The  2d  Platoon  under  Technical  Sergeant  Robert  A.  Gilbert  moved  up 
the  right  draw,  while  Technical  Sergeant  James  A.  Graham's  3d  Pla- 
toon searched  the  one  on  the  left.  The  remaining  rifle  platoon,  com- 
manded by  Lieutenant  Odint  T.  Olsen,  held  the  crossing  site  while  this 
reconnaissance  of  the  approaches  to  Bonerath  was  in  progress.  At  the 
completion  of  the  search  of  the  southern  route  to  the  battalion's  first 
objective,  Captain  Wancio  ordered  the  2d  Platoon  to  join  the  force 
in  the  northern  draw. 

At  1300  hours  Companies  A  and  C  left  their  assembly  areas,  moved 
to  the  river  and  crossed.  While  the  former  unit  worked  forward  in  the 
southern  valley,  Company  C,  advancing  through  the  thick  underbrush 
of  the  northern  approach,  passed  through  Captain  Wancio's  men.  Both 
companies  then  moved  to  the  high  ground  north  of  their  objective. 
There  they  received  heavy  fire  from  enemy  mortars,  artillery  and  rocket 
batteries. 

Major  Meyers,  who  now  commanded  the  battalion,  had  decided  to 
take  the  town  with  a  two-pronged  attack  which  would  send  Company 
C  eastward  while  the  troops  of  Company  A  hit  the  village  from  the 
south  flank.  Company  B,  which  had  moved  to  positions  on  the  high 
ground  overlooking  town,  was  to  protect  the  heavy  machine  guns  which 
would  support  the  attack  by  overhead  fire.  At  1700  hours  the  operation 
began  with  the  men  of  Companies  A  and  C  advancing  as  skirmishers. 
To  the  front  of  the  attacking  units,  the  ground  was  open  and  rolling. 
Due  to  the  formation  of  the  terrain,  the  objective,  which  was  within 
a  few  hundred  yards  of  the  assaulting  units,  was  entirely  invisible  to 
the  troops.  However,  the  twin  village  of  Holzerath,  some  eight  hun- 
dred yards  to  the  south,  was  in  full  view.  Toward  this  the  companies 
moved. 

During  the  initial  phases  of  the  attack,  Lieutenant  Malachi  A. 
Zecchin  radioed  the  CO  of  Company  A  and  said:  'There's  a  small 
village  over  here  to  my  left.  Shall  I  search  it?"  Lieutenant  Baum- 
gaertner  replied,  "Hell  no!  Let's  get  this  town  of  Bonerath.  We'll 
worry  about  that  other  one  later."  Hence,  Companies  A  and  C  entered 
what  they  thought  was  their  objective,  taking  the  northern  and  south- 


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ern  corners,  respectively.  All  units  pushed  forward  rapidly.  Near  the 
center  of  town,  an  88  opened  at  almost  point-blank  range  against  the 
advancing  infantry.  The  enemy  weapon  had  excellent  infantry  support 
and  initial  attempts  to  neutralize  or  destroy  it  came  to  naught.  Sub- 
sequently, Sergeant  Myron  L.  Wagner  managed  to  work  his  way 
to  within  bazooka  range  and  let  fly.  He  scored  a  hit,  but  the  round 
failed  to  explode.  Nevertheless,  the  enemy  gunners  had  had  enough 
and  withdrew.  Following  this,  the  remainder  of  the  town  was  taken 
without  difficulty. 

Once  the  village  was  cleared,  Lieutenant  Baumgaertner  radioed 
Major  Meyers  that  Bonerath  had  fallen;  the  CP  could  move  forward. 
Gathering  his  command  group  and  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  A 
which  had  been  holding  the  bridgehead  east  of  Geizenburg,  the  battal- 
ion commander  moved  out.  Seeing  no  sign  of  either  of  the  assault 
companies  at  the  edge  of  town,  the  major  had  a  civilian  interrogated. 
This  German  was  as  cooperative  as  his  information  was  startling. 

At  approximately  this  same  time,  the  CO  of  Company  A  noticed  a 
column  of  Germans  moving  along  the  road  leading  northeast  from 
the  town  in  which  he  was  located  and  called  for  an  artillery  concentra- 
tion. (There  was  a  similar  road  leading  out  of  Bonerath.)  The  artillery 
replied  promptly  with  "on  the  way"  and  Lieutenant  Baumgaertner 
waited.  To  his  disgust,  the  rounds  were  at  least  two  thousand  yards 
off  the  target.  When  a  confirming  round  was  requested,  this  too  fell 
in  the  area  of  the  first  concentration.  Fearing  the  worst,  the  lieutenant 
sent  a  runner  to  check  the  signpost  on  the  outskirts  of  town  while  the 
machine  gunners  of  Company  C  engaged  the  retreating  Germans.  On 
his  return  the  runner  announced:  "The  sign  sez  Holzerath." 

A  hasty  radio  message  was  dispatched  to  battalion,  warning  against 
any  movement  into  Bonerath.  In  reply,  the  CO  of  the  1st  Battalion 
informed  his  forces  in  Holzerath  that  their  real  objective  had  been 
taken  without  opposition  by  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  A  and  the 
command  group.  Later  interrogation  of  prisoners  revealed  that  the 
enemy  had  abandoned  Bonerath  to  make  a  more  determined  stand  in 
the  twin  town  to  the  south.  Companies  A  and  C  had  swept  into  the 
town  while  preparations  for  its  defense  were  still  in  progress. 

Subsequent  to  the  crossing  of  the  2d  Battalion,  the  engineers  moved 
forward  and  discovered  it  would  be  impossible  to  construct  a  treadway 
bridge  in  the  vicinity  of  their  crossing.  Captain  Harold  J.  Helbling 
informed  regiment  of  this  fact,  suggesting  that  the  bridge  to  the  north, 
at  the  ford  used  by  the  1st  Battalion,  be  repaired.  This  recommendation 
was  approved.  By  1300  Lieutenant  Bailey's  platoon  and  a  caterpillar 


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■  ■  "  -  -  ■ .  ;  *  •      »  *'  ,  *     .  .  . 

UiLCtOf  Wertr  moving  up  fl»e  u've'r  to  pr*pare-"{bse  approaches.  Three 


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taken,  but  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  A  moving  to  seize  the  southern 
crossing  was  less  fortunate.  It  crossed  the  foot  bridge  by  infiltration, 
the  men  taking  shelter  around  a  mill  on  the  far  shore.  With  the  entire 
platoon  across,  the  scouts  moved  forward  to  the  nearest  high  ground. 
It  was  then  the  enemy  elected  to  reveal  their  positions.  They  did  so 
with  a  volley  of  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire.  Immediately,  the  platoon 
took  cover  in  some  abandoned  German  foxholes  and  attempted  to  work 
a  flanking  group  against  the  enemy  position.  Fire  from  the  high 
ground  stalled  all  American  efforts  and  the  platoon,  after  sending  a 
runner  to  inform  battalion  of  the  existing  situation,  settled  down  to 
hold  its  slender  bridgehead. 

At  0300  hours,  under  the  terrific  artillery  barrage  that  preceded  the 
attack,  Company  A,  commanded  by  Captain  Howard  W.  McKee, 
pushed  into  the  3d  Platoon's  bridgehead.  Moving  along  the  sides  of 
the  mill,  the  company  fought  its  way  to  the  railroad  tracks  paralleling 
the  river.  There  it  met  a  deluge  of  small-arms  fire  and  hand  grenades. 
A  fierce  fire  fight  developed  in  which  every  attempt  to  cross  the  tracks 
was  stopped  by  the  enemy.  Staff  Sergeant  Hubert  Mikukenka  moved 
his  machine-gun  section  to  the  north  end  of  a  deep  cut  to  support  the 
left  flank  of  the  unit.  As  his  crew  went  into  position,  an  enemy  auto- 
matic weapon  opened  fire  destroying  the  piece. 

About  daylight,  under  the  overhead  fire  of  the  battalion's  HMGs, 
Company  C  began  its  crossing.  Once  on  the  east  bank  of  the  Ruwer, 
the  1st  Platoon  moved  to  the  right  of  Company  A,  crossed  the  tracks 
by  employing  marching  fire,  and  assaulted  the  high  ground  beyond 
where  an  enemy  machine-gun  position  was  overrun  and  twelve  pris- 
oners taken. 

Company  B,  the  battalion  reserve,  followed.  The  account  below  is 
by  an  anonymous  member  of  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  B. 

"Moving  up!"  [came  the  cry],  "Damn  it!  Every  time  I  open  a  K  ration 
.  .  ."  "Listen  you  guys!  When  we  hit  that  curve  down  there  we'll  find  an 
open  space.  About  seventy-five  yards.  Planks  across  the  creek  and  thirty  more 
yards  to  the  mill.  Three  at  a  time.  Quick!  See!  Mortars  coming  in  all  the 
time  and  snipers  too.  Hold  it  up  at  the  back  of  the  mill.  Second  Platoon's 
there.  Got  it?  Any  questions?  Good,  let's  go!  Shep,  Frenchy,  Jesco.  You 
three  first.  Remember,  fast!" 

The  next  three  men  to  go  made  even  better  time  dashing  across  the  foot- 
bridge and  up  to  the  mill.  Finally  all  of  the  platoon  was  huddled  close  to 
the  back  of  the  building.  The  2d  Platoon  had  already  moved  out  and  rifle 
fire  was  cracking  up  ahead.  We  could  hear  the  shouts  and  curses  of  the  men 
above  it  all. 

"What  are  we  going  to  do?"    "Stay  right  here  for  awhile."  "Why?" 


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ao«'ft  nearby,  "Who  i*  it?  Turn  him  over;.'  /On'T  y.Why?"  "I'm  Afraid  ;  . 
."Si  know  him/' 

Nfc-nwhiie,  Yar.k.  wounded  iod  Jem  pf.soncrt.  were  awniro£  b.itfc.  one 


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fire  falling  in  the  valley  of  the  Ruwer  made  construction  of  a  treadway 
bridge  impossible.  Smoke  was  placed  on  the  high  ground  east  of  the 
river  which  caused  the  German  fire  to  slacken  as  observation  became 
obscured.  Following  this,  construction  began  and  a  bridge  was  rapidly 
completed. 

Company  A,  meanwhile,  turned  to  the  north  to  take  Berg  Heid  and 
make  contact  with  the  3d  Battalion.  Instead  of  a  village,  the  troops 
found  a  castle  surrounded  by  a  high  wall.  The  machine-gun  section 
was  called  forward  to  support  an  assault  and  was  going  into  action 
as  a  column  of  twenty-five  Germans  came  into  view.  This  enemy  group 
was  promptly  engaged  and  decimated.  Without  opposition,  at  1430 
hours  the  castle  itself  fell. 

Back  at  the  bridge  site  the  supporting  tanks  and  TDs  encountered 
considerable  difficulty  in  negotiating  a  crossing.  Between  the  east  ap- 
proach of  the  bridge  and  the  road  beyond  the  ground  was  extremely 
soft.  It  was  only  by  routing  each  vehicle  over  a  slightly  different  course, 
once  it  had  crossed,  that  sufficient  flotation  was  achieved  to  reach  the 
road.  Shortly  before  dark  the  last  of  the  tracklaying  vehicles  crossed. 
Two  TDs  were  put  at  the  head  of  the  column  and  the  platoon  of  Com- 
pany A,  which  was  still  at  the  mill,  mounted  the  tanks  to  furnish  local 
security.  This  column  then  started  north  and  reached  Berg  Heid  with- 
out incident. 

At  the  footbridge  to  the  north,  Company  I  of  the  301st  crossed  on 
schedule  without  opposition  from  the  enemy.  The  company  pushed 
forward  and  had  started  up  the  high  ground  to  the  front  when  it  was 
hit  by  an  artillery  concentration  which  inflicted  nine  casualties  on  the 
support  platoon.  As  this  fire  lifted,  the  advance  resumed  and  daylight 
found  the  troops  in  possession  of  the  crest  of  the  ridge  To  clear  the 
houses  in  the  valley  most  of  the  company  pushed  down  the  far  slope 
of  the  hill  while  Company  K,  which  had  crossed  behind  Company  I, 
moved  to  the  right  flank  of  the  battalion  line. 

At  about  this  time,  the  1st  Platoon  of  Company  I,  atop  the  ridge, 
was  hit  by  a  local  counterattack  which  they  repelled  after  some  close 
and  difficult  fighting.  Eleven  prisoners  were  taken,  seven  Germans 
killed,  and  two  more  wounded.  Companies  I  and  K  next  moved  south* 
east,  along  the  high  ground  toward  the  1st  Battalion,  against  increase 
ing  enemy  opposition  which  caused  the  leading  elements  to  give  way 
to  the  left.  Consequently,  Company  L,  which  had  also  crossed  by  this 
time,  moved  into  position  to  protect  the  battalion  right  flank.  Late  in 
the  afternoon  the  company  was  hit  by  a  vicious  counterattack  from  the 


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hill  west  of  Heddert.  Until  elements  of  Company  K  outflanked  the 
counterattacking  force  and  came  up  in  its  rear,  the  situation  remained 
fluid.  The  battalion  then  halted  to  reorganize. 

With  the  arrival  of  its  armor,  the  1st  Battalion,  301st,  continued  to 
advance  along  the  road  running  northward  from  Berg  Heid.  Progress 
was  extremely  slow;  the  enemy  in  withdrawing  had  felled  trees  across 
the  road.  Throughout  the  night,  the  infantry  and  attached  engineers 
worked  on  these  roadblocks  and  late  on  the  morning  of  the  14th  made 
contact  with  the  3d  Battalion. 

As  a  result  of  the  operations  on  the  13th,  the  Division  penetrated 
the  German  line  in  two  places  to  a  depth  of  three  thousand  yards  and 
sent  129  prisoners  back  to  the  PW  cages. 


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Chapter  39:  PUSH  TO  THE  EAST 


RDERS  FROM  REGIMENT  sent  the  1st  Battalion,  302d,  east- 


ward again  on  the  morning  of  March  14,  to  take  its  next 


immediate  objective,  the  high  ground  to  the  east  of  Holzerath. 
Once  this  had  been  seized,  the  attack  would  continue  east  to  Check 
Point  1,  a  road  junction  west  of  Hill  708  and  about  3,500  yards  beyond 
Holzerath.  There  contact  was  to  be  made  with  the  2d  Battalion,  302d, 
which  was  also  continuing  its  attack. 

At  0700  hours  Companies  A  and  C,  both  badly  under  strength, 
jumped  off  supported  by  a  platoon  of  tanks  from  Company  A  of  the 
778th  Tank  Battalion.  The  line  of  departure  was  crossed  with  Com- 
pany A  on  the  north,  the  tanks  in  the  center  and  Company  C  on  the 
south.  All  units  moved  forward  rapidly  and  were  halfway  up  the  hill 
beyond  town  before  the  enemy  opened  fire  with  small-arms  and  self- 
propelled  88s  which  drove  back  the  attack.  The  tanks  and  Company 
A,  which  had  suffered  very  heavy  casualties,  returned  to  Holzerath 
while  Company  C  took  positions  in  the  woods  directly  south  of  the  hill. 

With  the  same  forces  participating,  a  second  attack  was  launched 
at  1600  hours.  This  thrust  took  the  hill  but  netted  only  fifteen  pris- 
oners. While  the  rest  of  the  battalion  prepared  to  continue  the  attack 
according  to  plan,  Company  A  was  ordered  to  hold  the  objective  and 
the  crossroads  adjacent  to  it.  With  Company  B,  which  had  been 
brought  up  from  reserve,  taking  the  lead,  the  new  drive  began  at  2200 
hours.  The  night  was  inky  black,  the  rate  of  march  rapid.  Luminous 
enemy  road  markers  were  frequently  encountered,  along  with  road- 
blocks and  felled  trees.  After  an  advance  of  some  two  thousand  yards, 
the  head  of  the  column  was  engaged  by  a  direct-fire  artillery  piece 
and  four  men  were  wounded.  As  the  leading  elements  returned  fire, 
the  enemy  weapon,  an  assault  gun,  withdrew.  The  advance  continued. 
In  the  vicinity  of  Check  Point  1,  the  Germans  again  attempted  a  delay- 
ing action.  This  time  the  force  involved  consisted  of  an  armored  vehi- 
cle supported  by  a  few  infantry.  A  sharp  fire  fight  caused  the  enemy 
to  fall  back  again.  Finding  no  sign  of  the  2d  Battalion  at  Check  Point 
1,  Major  Meyers  pulled  back  his  troops  to  the  last  high  ground  and 
prepared  positions  for  what  was  left  of  the  night. 

For  the  continuation  of  the  advance  on  the  14th,  Major  Maixner 
ordered  Company  G,  in  reserve,  to  cross  the  Ruwer  River  and  move 
to  Holzerath.  There  at  1630  hours,  Company  E  was  to  join  Company 
G;  together  they  would  push  eastward  along  a  road  net  generally  paral- 
lel to  and  south  of  Major  Meyers'  route  of  advance  with  contact  to 


412 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


be  made  at  Check  Point  1.  Because  of  the  amount  of  enemy  artillery 
fire  falling  on  Holzerath,  Company  E  avoided  the  town.  Junction 
with  Company  G  was  made  five  hundred  yards  to  the  east  of  the  as- 
signed rendezvous.  From  there  the  advance  continued  in  a  column 
of  companies.  Company  G  led,  followed  by  the  platoon  of  attached 
tanks  and  Company  E.  At  approximately  0300  hours,  the  leading  ele- 
ments reached  the  vicinity  of  Check  Point  1.  A  perimeter  was  formed 
by  the  riflemen  and  into  this  the  armor  moved.  Two  reconnaissance 
patrols,  one  under  Lieutenant  Davis  F.  Nations  and  the  other  led  by 
Staff  Sergeant  James  L.  Mundy,  moved  to  the  rendezvous  point  in 
search  of  the  1st  Battalion.  Lieutenant  Nation's  patrol  returned  shortly, 
reporting  no  sign  of  Major  Meyers'  troops.  Following  this,  footsteps 
were  heard  and  the  men  on  the  perimeter  challenged  what  they  thought 
was  the  second  patrol.  From  the  darkness  a  voice  spoke  in  broken 
English:  "I  want  to  surrender/'  One  of  the  tankers,  standing  next  to 
his  vehicle,  asked  the  would-be-POW  if  he  was  alone.  Reply  came  in 
the  form  of  a  Panzerfaust,  which  struck  the  tank,  smashing  a  track.  In 
the  confusion  the  enemy  group  escaped. 

During  the  early  hours  of  the  15th,  contact  between  the  1st  and  2d 
Battalions,  302d,  was  made  by  radio  and  plans  were  laid  for  a  coor- 
dinated attack  on  Hill  708  and  the  town  of  Reinsfeld  beyond  it.  At 
0600  hours,  with  the  1st  Battalion  on  the  left  and  the  2d  on  the  right, 
this  attack  jumped  off. 

After  advancing  some  four  hundred  yards,  the  2d  Platoon  of  Com- 
pany G  encountered  a  German  self-propelled  77mm  gun.  Its  crew 
went  into  action  and  the  artillery  forward  observer  with  the  company 
rapidly  adjusted  on  the  enemy  weapon.  As  the  American  fire  fell,  the 
crew  of  the  assault  gun  set  fire  to  their  piece  and  abandoned  the  posi- 
tion. The  advance  was  resumed  and,  after  some  stiff  fighting  in  which 
a  number  of  machine-gun  positions  were  overwhelmed  and  Panzerfaust 
teams  knocked  out,  the  hill  was  taken. 

Both  battalions  reorganized  at  1230  hours  to  continue  the  attack 
toward  Reinsfeld.  As  Major  Maixner's  troops  advanced,  two  enemy 
assault  guns  opened  fire  knocking  out  their  leading  tank.  This  vehicle 
burst  into  flames  and  all  but  one  of  the  crew  escaped.  Seeing  this, 
Captain  Kops  of  Company  F  dashed  to  the  burning  tank  and  without 
assistance  succeeded  in  rescuing  the  injured  man.  Meanwhile,  one  of 
the  enemy  guns  was  eliminated  by  a  second  tank  and  the  remaining 
88  withdrew.  Armor  and  infantry  then  swept  to  the  edge  of  the  wroods 
west  of  Reinsfeld  from  which,  at  1545  hours,  Lieutenant  Baumgaertner 
observed  a  German  artillery  battery  harnessing  its  horses  and  prepar- 


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PUSH  TO  THE  EAST 


415 


ing  to  move.  He  requested  a  fire  mission  of  his  forward  observer  and 
the  resulting  concentrations  annihilated  both  gunners  and  their  mounts. 
Not  a  single  man  or  horse  escaped  the  carnage. 

Again  the  battalions  reorganized,  preparatory  to  continuing  the  attack 
under  cover  of  darkness.  At  2000  hours  the  troops  moved  from  the 
woods  and  quickly  crossed  the  open  ground  separating  them  from  the 
town.  There  was  some  light  resistance  from  the  enemy,  but  within 
an  hour  and  a  half  Reinsfeld  was  cleared  and  outposted.  The  tired 
troops  organized  the  position  and  waited  for  the  3d  Battalion,  which 
had  been  in  reserve  since  the  beginning  of  the  drive,  to  pass  through 
them  the  following  morning. 

In  Colonel  Hagerty's  sector  the  3d  Battalion,  301st,  and  its  support- 
ing units  advanced  against  Heddert,  some  2,500  yards  east  of  Berg 
Heid,  on  the  morning  of  the  14th  while  the  1st  Battalion  was  mopping 
up  what  enemy  resistance  remained  between  the  bridge  site  and  the 
initial  objective.  Following  an  artillery  preparation,  the  men  of  Major 
O'Neil's  battalion  swept  into  Heddert  which  they  cleared  of  all  re- 
sistance by  1245  hours.  Companies  I  and  K  then  pushed  on  and  had 
secured  the  high  ground  to  the  east  and  northeast  by  dark. 

To  the  right  of  General  Malony's  troops,  the  80th  Division  which 
had  advanced  far  beyond  Zerf,  reported  it  was  receiving  German 
sniper  and  artillery  fire  from  the  zone  of  the  94th  in  this  vicinity. 
Therefore,  the  2d  Battalion,  301st,  was  assigned  the  mission  of  clear- 
ing the  extreme  right  of  the  Division  area  and  flanking  the  Germans 
still  in  position  on  the  hills  overlooking  Berg  Heid  and  the  bridge 
site.  From  Zerf,  Major  Brumley's  men  Jumped  off  at  0500  hours  on 
the  morning  of  the  14th,  attacking  northeast  against  Hill  489-  Appar- 
ently the  enemy  had  been  expecting  an  American  thrust  from  the 
direction  of  Heddert  and  was  caught  off  guard.  By  mid-morning  the 
hill  was  cleared.  After  a  speedy  reorganization,  the  battalion  con- 
tinued northeast  through  a  heavily  wooded  area.  Progress  was  slow, 
particularly  during  the  late  afternoon  when  roadblocks,  antipersonnel 
minefields  and  machine-gun  positions  were  encountered.  When  the 
advance  halted  for  the  night,  enemy  artillery  began  to  hit  the  battalion 
and  the  companies  were  drawn  back  a  short  distance. 

At  0500  hours  on  the  morning  of  the  15th  the  3d  Battalion,  301st, 
jumped  off  from  Heddert  to  take  the  town  of  Schillingen.  Plan  of 
attack  called  for  Company  I  to  flank  the  village  and  assault  from  the 
north  while  Company  K  pushed  forward  from  the  west.  The  night  was 


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ported  no  opposition  in  Schill'mgeo.  This  esSlsHslwd  the  fact  that  the 
wmr*£  town  had  bccto  entered.  After dwriru*  the  te^t  of  the  village 
and  destroying  an  ^nemy  arriUery  bstterv.  the  party  learned  it  had 


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418 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


including  a  trailer-truck  carrying  over  two  thousand  gallons  of  gaso- 
line sorely  needed  by  the  enemy's  tanks  and  self-propelled  weapons. 

Far  to  the  rear  of  the  rest  of  the  94th,  the  2d  Battalion,  301st,  clear- 
ing the  right  flank  of  the  Division  zone,  also  had  a  busy  day  on  the 
1 5th.  As  the  Germans  fell  back  in  the  face  of  their  onslaughts,  Major 
Brumley's  men  pushed  northwest  through  the  woods  toward  Heddert. 
Many  of  the  enemy  were  rounded  up  by  one  of  the  batteries  of  the 
301st  Field  Artillery  which  had  crossed  the  Ruwer  and  assumed  posi- 
tions south  of  Heddert.  While  the  artillerymen  were  only  slightly  less 
surprised  than  their  captives,  at  this  turn  of  events,  they  had  reacted 
more  quickly.  Upon  the  completion  of  this  clean-up  task,  the  2d  Bat- 
talion moved  into  Heddert. 

At  0200  hours  on  the  morning  of  the  16th,  the  2d  Battalion  came 
forward  by  marching,  to  pass  through  the  1st  Battalion  and  continue 
the  drive  to  Hermeskeil.  Just  as  dawn  was  breaking,  Major  Brumley's 
men  passed  through  Gusenburg  to  swing  to  the  northeast  against  the 
new  objective.  Unknown  to  the  battalion  commander,  an  air  mission 
had  been  requested  and,  as  the  assault  troops  moved  against  Hermes- 
keil, a  squadron  of  P-47s  swept  down  for  a  bombing  run.  Huge 
columns  of  smoke  and  debris  rose  in  the  town;  the  infantrymen  took 
what  cover  they  could  find.  A  yellow  smoke  grenade,  signifying 
friendly  troops,  was  uncorked  before  the  planes  began  strafing  and  as 
the  fighter-bombers  pulled  away,  the  battalion  gave  vent  to  a  collective 
sigh  of  relief  before  continuing  the  attack,  Resistance  encountered  in 
Hermeskeil  was  sporadic  and  by  1000  hours  fighting  within  the  town 
had  ended.  The  301st  Infantry  then  reverted  to  Division  reserve  as 
the  376th  came  forward  to  continue  the  advance. 

During  the  morning  of  the  15th,  the  376th  Infantry  was  ordered 
to  clear  Hinzenburg,  and  assigned  the  task  to  Company  B.  This  town, 
located  across  the  Ruwer  River,  southeast  of  Ollmuth,  had  been  by- 
passed in  the  advance  of  the  302d  Infantry.  The  mission  was  com- 
pleted by  1100  hours  and  the  company  moved  on  to  secure  the  high 
ground  beyond.  At  the  same  time,  the  2d  Battalion  of  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Anderson's  regiment  entrucked  and  moved  to  the  vicinity  of 
Heddert  while  the  3d  Battalion  moved  by  motor  to  an  assembly  area 
in  the  woods  just  west  of  Schillingen. 

At  2000  hours  the  same  evening  the  3d  Battalion,  376th,  set  out  on 
foot  to  take  its  first  objective,  the  town  of  Grimburg,  east  and  south 
of  Schillingen.  The  night  was  clear  and  visibility  was  further  improved 
by  artificial  moonlight  produced  by  searchlight  battalions  far  to  the 


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vim 


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■  • ft  M  ,i 

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m  m  k-  &m  '  ■■■•■■■■■■<    •  -     -  .  ■ 


of  the  tanks,:  following  whltli  thelnfanffy  proa-etkd 
of  Gdmbui  i;.  Genrijn  outposts  xhaiten^e^  '>W  Uv/hr 


420 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


In  the  attack  on  the  former  objective,  Captain  Ralph  T.  Brown, 
commanding  Company  K,  located  a  well  camouflaged  enemy  77mm 
artillery  piece  which  commanded  his  company's  route  of  advance, 
holding  up  the  attack.  Arming  himself  with  a  grenade  launcher,  the 
CO  of  Company  K  courageously  assaulted  the  German  gun,  which 
was  protected  by  several  rocket-launcher  teams.  Although  he  was  ob- 
served and  seriously  wounded  by  almost  point-blank  fire  from  the 
enemy  position,  the  captain  forced  the  withdrawal  of  the  rocket- 
launcher  teams.  This  permitted  friendly  tanks  to  advance  and  silence 
the  artillery  piece.  Tanks  and  infantry  then  successfully  stormed 
Sitzerath.  In  like  manner,  Bierfeld  was  taken  and  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Thurston's  men  pushed  to  Nonnweiler  only  to  find  that  the  armored 
task  force  had  beaten  them  to  this  objective. 

The  1st  and  2d  Battalions,  376th,  kept  closely  in  touch  with  the 
situation,  prepared  to  take  over  the  attack  upon  orders.  At  0915  hours 
on  the  16th,  the  latter  battalion  marched  to  Grimburg  and  from  there 
to  Sitzerath  where  it  spent  the  night.  The  1st  Battalion  left  Franzen- 
heim  at  1415  hours  and  arrived  at  Grimburg  five  hours  later. 

On  the  morning  of  the  16th  at  0815  hours,  the  3d  Battalion,  302d, 
attacked  southeast  from  Reinsfeld  in  the  face  of  heavy  rocket  and 
artillery  fire  that  failed  to  halt  its  advance.  Beyond  the  town  the 
battalion  stormed  into  an  area  infested  with  enemy  pillboxes  and 
bunkers.  One  by  one  these  were  assaulted,  reduced  and  then  manned 
by  men  of  Company  I  until  they  could  be  demolished  by  the  engineers. 
In  this  manner  thirty-seven  pillboxes  were  reduced.  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Cloudt's  men  then  continued  to  the  southeast  and  by  1740  hours  they 
had  reached  Hermeskeil. 

During  the  14th,  15th  and  16th  of  March,  the  attack  of  the  94th 
continued  to  gain  momentum.  On  the  14th,  the  Division  front  line 
moved  forward  about  two  thousand  yards  and  344  prisoners  were 
added  to  the  ever-mounting  total  to  the  credit  of  the  Division.  On  the 
following  day  both  assault  regiments,  the  301st  and  the  302d,  turned 
in  gains  of  approximately  ten  thousand  yards  apiece  and  sent  341  more 
PWs  to  the  Division  cage.  On  the  16th,  Colonels  Hagerty  and  Johnson 
pressed  their  advantages.  What  had  been  a  fairly  well  ordered  Ger- 
man retreat  became  a  rout.  The  day's  advance  was  measured  in  miles 
and  the  94th  continued  to  lead  the  other  divisions  of  XX  Corps.  As 
a  result  of  this  day's  fighting  more  than  700  prisoners  were  taken. 


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Chapter  40:  THE  PURSUIT 


BY  MARCH  17  organized  German  resistance  along  the  front  of 
the  94th  Division  had  begun  to  collapse.  Little  opposition  was 
met  in  any  of  the  towns  taken  and  similar  conditions  were  being 
reported  all  along  the  adjoining  fronts.  The  enemy  was  beaten  and 
fleeing.  From  Division  came  the  order  to  pursue.  The  next  stop  was 
the  Rhine! 

To  facilitate  a  speedy  continuation  of  the  push,  the  CG  of  the  94th 
formed  his  two  remaining  regiments  into  combat  teams  and  motorized 
their  infantry  elements.  Each  of  the  regimental  CTs  was  reinforced 
with  attachments  from  the  tank,  AAA  and  chemical  mortar  battalions 
at  the  Division's  disposal. 

At  0815  hours  on  the  17th,  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  left  Hermeskeil 
with  Zusch  as  its  immediate  objective.  Initially  the  advance  was  im- 
peded by  a  series  of  roadblocks  and  abatis  which  were  covered  by 
enemy  automatic-weapons  fire.  For  seven  hours  progress  was  slow; 
it  was  not  until  1530  hours  that  Zusch  was  taken.  The  battalion  was 
behind  schedule,  but  renewed  efforts  gained  twenty  kilometers  in  the 
following  five  hours  netting  the  towns  of  Schmelz,  Neuhutten,  Zinser- 
shutten,  Adentheuer,  Buhlenberg,  Ellenberg,  Feckweiler  and  the  ulti- 
mate objective  of  the  day's  advance,  Birkenfeld. 

Along  the  southern  axis  of  the  Division's  attack,  the  376th  Infantry 
also  was  having  a  field  day.  The  2d  Battalion  passed  through  Lieu- 
tenant Colonel  Thurston's  positions  at  Nonnweiler  and  had  taken 
Otzenhausen  by  0810  hours.  Before  noon  Schwarzenback  was  added 
to  the  bag.  During  the  afternoon,  the  2d  Battalion  seized  Eisen  and 
Achtelsbach.  By  this  time  the  attack  had  become  an  endurance  contest. 
Objectives  fell  as  fast  as  troops  could  get  to  them.  During  the  after- 
noon, the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  was  ordered  to  pass  through  the  2d 
Battalion  and  at  2130  hours  the  leading  elements  of  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Hodges'  command  left  Achtelsbach  and  took  Brucken.  They  continued 
on  through  the  night  making  contact  with  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt's 
3d  Battalion,  302d,  in  Birkenfeld.  In  Elchweiler,  a  few  Volkssturm 
troops  put  up  a  token  resistance,  but  were  soon  overwhelmed  and  the 
town  cleared. 

The  Reconnaissance  Troop  was  likewise  busy  during  the  day  of  the 
17th.  In  addition  to  keeping  contact  with  the  80th  Division,  it  added 
Wadrill,  Gehweiler,  Oberlostern  and  Kostenbach  to  the  total  of  towns 
taken  by  the  Division  and  captured  two  German  tanks  and  an  AA  gun. 

Echeloned  to  the  right  rear  of  the  94th,  the  80th  Division  encoun- 
tered a  similar  situation  along  its  front.  Combat  Command  A  of  the 
10th  Armored  Division  operating  in  its  zone,  reported  its  leading 

421 


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THE  PURSUIT 


423 


elements  as  Tiirkismuhle  while  Combat  Command  B,  in  the  zone  of 
the  94th,  rolled  to  Birkenfeld  and  then  turned  south  into  the  80th 
Division's  sector.  This  action  outflanked  much  of  the  enemy  resistance 
to  the  south.  To  the  north  and  in  rear  of  the  94th,  the  3d  Cavalry 
Group  was  attacking  southeast  and  had  reached  Beuren  and  Prostrath. 
During  the  day  the  12th  Armored  Division  came  under  control  of 
XX  Corps  and  was  assembling  in  Trier  for  employment  the  following 
day  in  the  94th's  sector.  The  Division  had  advanced  some  twenty 
miles,  taken  forty  towns  and  captured  over  1,500  PWs.  Still  it  con- 
tinued to  lead  the  corps,  several  miles  in  advance  of  the  units  on  its 
flanks. 

The  speed  of  the  advance  prevented  the  issuance  of  field  orders  for 
each  new  objective  and  the  G-3  section  solved  this  problem  by  pre- 
paring supplements  to  the  basic  order.  In  some  cases  it  became  neces- 
sary to  issue  several  of  these  in  a  single  day.  Liaison  officers  and  check 
points  were  relied  upon  to  keep  the  regimental  and  Division  staffs 
informed  of  the  location  of  the  plunging  spearheads. 

The  302d  Combat  Team  continued  its  advance  to  the  east  on  the 
morning  of  the  18th  as  Lieutenant  Colonel  Cloudt's  3d  Battalion 
jumped  off  at  0805  hours.  Against  practically  no  resistance,  the  towns 
of  Rimsberg,  Bohen,  Reichenbach,  Baumholder  and  Breitsesterhof 
were  taken.  The  battalion  outposted  Baumholder  while  Major  Meyers' 
troops  passed  through  to  take  Mambachel.  As  the  day  ended  the  2d 
Battalion,  in  regimental  reserve,  moved  forward  to  Birkenfeld. 

On  the  southern  flank  of  the  Division,  the  376th  Combat  Team  also 
moved  forward  in  Blitzkrieg  style.  After  it  reached  Elchweiler,  north- 
east of  Birkenfeld,  the  1st  Battalion  received  a  change  of  orders  and 
had  to  backtrack  to  the  latter  town.  It  turned  south,  took  Hoppstadten, 
then  continued  toward  Heimbach.  Outside  the  latter  town,  an  armored 
column  was  being  delayed  by  the  fire  of  enemy  antiaircraft  guns  em- 
ployed as  ground  weapons.  These  guns  had  already  knocked  out  two 
tanks  when  Major  Miller  offered  to  have  his  infantry  flank  the  posi- 
tion. This  assistance  was  declined;  the  battalion  remained  immobile 
for  four  hours.  An  air  mission  was  requested  by  the  armor  and  inter- 
mittently for  two  hours  P-51s  bombed  and  strafed  the  20mm  and 
88mm  flak  guns.  When  the  road  was  finally  cleared,  the  battalion 
moved  into  town  and  from  there  advanced  to  Mettweiler.  Within  the 
latter  town,  some  of  the  remnants  of  the  256th  Volksgrenadier  Divi- 
sion, first  encountered  by  the  94th  in  the  Triangle,  were  taken  prisoner. 


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.-  v.  •  •. 

I 


Digitl^ed^ 


Original 'from 
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~*  »  V     ft  «    •  £  ft, 


C  III 


;  :     :         .  "  -V:. 

.      ...    .  .   ~  •  i    1     ,  ,      ,..     ,        >  .  . 


burnt  and  gutted  German  cohirnrtt  >as  ma>urueied.  Vebiiles  toilet*, 
kitchens,  ambulance  supply  w«go»s  amniutu*ioo  carts,  held  j^eces 
and  dead  horses  were  a  co^*rt-™*-  iiWK*"  l«  r<r»wi^.         mnmr  ^ 


evacuate  time  groups,  me  utviston  Military  watqt  mtw  was  nara 
' pressed.  Special  '  PW  teasns  had  to  be  formed.  Gradually  though,  the 
droves  of  prisoners  were  herded into  the  <Mrh's  overcunvded  enclosures, 

On  the  loth  of  Match,  tht 
Against  negligible  qfrposmon.  Vat 
ward; --advancing  twenty-two  miles, 

tlie  dty  ^of  taur^ecpir'iix-ated  or?  the  Clian  Eka,  and  taking  an 


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426 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


Elzweiler,  Horschbach,  Hinzweiler,  Aschbach  and  Wolfstein  to  the 
long  list  of  towns  taken.  While  the  battalion  was  advancing  on  Mor- 
bach,  there  was  a  second  change  of  route.  The  3d  Battalion  shuttled 
to  Bedesbach  and  the  2d  assembled  in  Olsbriicken  in  readiness  to  pass 
through  Major  Miller's  men  for  a  continuation  of  the  drive  eastward. 

Each  passing  day  communications  with  and  control  of  the  advancing 
battalions  became  increasingly  difficult.  Moreover,  the  division  had 
completely  outdistanced  the  units  on  its  flanks.  The  infantry,  in  several 
cases,  was  far  in  front  of  the  armor  that  was  to  support  it.  In  an 
attempt  to  improve  the  situation,  the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop  was 
given  the  additional  mission  of  maintaining  contact  between  the  lead- 
ing infantry  assault  teams  and  those  armored  columns  in  or  adjacent 
to  the  division  zone.  While  performing  this  task,  Captain  Ashton's 
men  overran  and  captured  an  enemy  vehicle  column  loaded  with  sup- 
plies and  equipment. 

The  day's  operation  showed  the  Division  had  taken  thirty-three  more 
towns,  over  three  thousand  prisoners,  and  numerous  guns,  howitzers 
and  vehicles,  in  addition  to  huge  supplies  of  equipment  and  munitions. 

On  the  20th  the  action  was  merely  a  continuation  of  the  previous 
day's  activities.  In  the  zone  of  the  302d  Combat  Team,  battalions 
continued  to  leap-frog  one  another  and  thirteen  more  towns  were 
added  to  the  regiment's  total.  Outside  the  city  of  Grunstadt,  the  enemy 
offered  some  resistance  when  approximately  1 50  Germans  armed  with 
rifles  and  automatic  weapons  manned*  a  roadblock  and  went  into 
action.  There  was  a  brief  fight,  but  soon  more  PWs  were  streaming  to 
the  rear. 

In  the  sector  of  the  376th  Combat  Team,  the  2d  Battalion  continued 
the  drive  eastward  after  spending  a  cold,  uncomfortable  night  huddled 
in  their  halted  trucks.  These  troops  passed  through  the  1st  Battalion  to 
close  in  Neunkirchen  at  1600  hours.  From  there  they  pressed  forward 
toward  Enkenbach  and  Carlsberg,  the  regimental  objective  for  the  day. 
Enemy  troops  in  position  in  the  woods  southeast  of  the  former  town 
had  halted  advance  elements  of  the  12th  Armored  Division,  attempting 
to  cut  the  Reich s-Autobahtu  stretching  through  Kaiserslautern  to  the 
Rhine,  and  knocked  out  fifteen  American  tanks.  Upon  arriving,  the 
3d  Battalion  dismounted,  deployed  and  moved  against  the  enemy 
strongpoint.  Although  the  Germans  were  well  situated  and  heavily 
armed,  there  was  little  resistance.  A  mass  surrender  was  soon  under 
way. 


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Atc<:r  the  fall  of CVum-tadt,  the  2d  Battalion.  a>n  tmued  for- 

vvard  through,  rJic/  nighr.;- "  The  vjliey;  of;  •ttte  Rhine  had  been  reached 


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428 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


halted  the  convoy,  taking  off  on  foot  to  investigate  a  small  light  which 
blinked  alternately  green  and  yellow,  directly  to  the  front.  In  seconds 
he  was  back,  on  the  double,  to  report  a  huge  German  tank  lumbering 
down  the  road. 

The  troops  were  ordered  off  their  trucks  immediately.  Staff  Sergeant 
Aaron  L.  Kupferschmidt  led  forward  a  bazooka  team  which  worked 
to  within  a  few  yards  of  the  panzer  and  went  into  action.  However, 
their  weapon  had  developed  a  malfunction  and  would  not  fire.  Un- 
able to  locate  the  rest  of  their  57mm  gun  crew,  Staff  Sergeant  Joseph  R. 
Frantz  and  Private  First  Class  Jack  S.  Crayne  were  attempting  to  get 
their  weapon  into  firing  position  when  the  enemy  tank  opened  up. 
Its  first  round  was  high,  the  second  hit  the  leading  truck  squarely  and 
subsequent  rounds  demolished  the  21/2-ton  truck  and  set  fire  to  a  jeep. 
Then,  the  57  opened  fire,  aiming  at  the  muzzle  blast  of  the  German 
tank.  There  was  little  hope  of  stopping  the  enemy  vehicle,  but  at  least 
a  diversion  might  be  created  in  which  the  undamaged  vehicles  could 
be  withdrawn.  To  the  rear,  Captain  Hodges  turned  the  column  while 
the  understrength  gun  crew  used  up  the  last  of  their  ammunition. 
Loading  the  wounded  first  and  then  the  rest  of  the  troops,  a  hasty 
withdrawal  began.  Obviously,  Major  Maixner  and  the  rest  of  the 
battalion  had  not  yet  taken  the  town. 

At  0900  hours  the  following  morning,  what  were  supposedly  the 
leading  elements  of  the  2d  Battalion  made  contact  with  Captain 
Hodges  and  his  men.  TDs  mounting  90mm  guns  were  spearheading 
the  advance.  Once  the  battalion  had  been  reorganized,  the  push  east- 
ward continued.  At  the  scene  of  the  previous  night's  encounter  the 
wreckage  of  the  2^-ton  truck  and  jeep  were  located.  The  57mm  gun, 
which  had  suffered  a  sprung  trail,  was  recovered  and  salvaged.  Farther 
beyond  was  a  Panther  tank  which  had  been  hit  three  times.  The  sign 
post  outside  the  city  read:  Frankenthal. 

Within  the  town  little  resistance  was  encountered  by  the  2d  Bat- 
talion, and  the  column  pressed  forward  toward  the  last  objective,  the 
Rhine  River,  now  in  sight.  By  1215  hours  on  the  21st  of  March,  the 
2d  Battalion,  302d,  was  in  Petersau,  a  small  town  on  the  very  bank  of 
the  river,  northeast  of  Frankenthal.  The  leading  element  of  the  XX 
Corps  had  reached  the  Rhine! 

The  1st  Battalion,  376th,  moved  from  Otterberg  on  the  21st,  passed 
through  the  3d  Battalion  in  Carlsberg  at  1100  hours  and  proceeded  to 
Studernheim  where  the  companies  detrucked  and  proceeded  into  Oppau 
on  foot. 


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429 


The  3d  Battalion,  302d,  closed  in  Frankenthal  late  on  the  21st  and 
moved  immediately  to  Oppau  where  it  took  positions  along  the  Rhine. 
The  1st  Battalion,  302d,  was  also  brought  forward  arriving  in  Franken- 
thal about  2100  hours.  In  the  376th  Infantry,  the  2d  and  3d  Battalions 
moved  to  Oggersheim,  located  just  west  of  Ludwigshafen,  with  the 
latter  unit  closing  there  at  1330  on  the  22d  of  March.  During  the 
drive  eastward  the  301st  Infantry  came  forward  by  bounds  after  being 
released  from  control  of  the  10th  Armored  and  returned  to  the  Divi- 
sion. Colonel  Hagerty's  biggest  problem  was  keeping  his  regiment 
within  supporting  distance  of  the  rapidly  moving  spearheads.  The 
roads  were  clogged  with  traffic  and  most  of  his  transportation  had  been 
diverted  to  other  elements.  Until  the  19th  the  regiment  remained  in 
Hermeskeil,  then  it  moved  to  Birkenfeld.  It  pushed  to  Baumholder 
on  the  20th  and  almost  immediately  continued  to  Wolfstein.  In  this 
vicinity,  enemy  forces  bypassed  by  the  spearheads  had  begun  to  con- 
verge and  Colonel  Hagerty's  men  were  given  the  mission  of  clearing 
the  area.  This  assignment  occupied  the  regiment  until  late  in  the 
afternoon  of  the  21st  when  it  was  again  ordered  forward.  The  fol- 
lowing morning,  the  301st  reached  its  assembly  area  at  Weisenheim- 
am-Berg  to  complete  the  forward  deployment  of  the  94th  Division. 

The  men  of  the  94th  had  celebrated  St.  Patrick's  Day  of  1945  by 
driving  eastward  fourteen  miles  and  presenting  their  Division  Com- 
mander with  seven  hundred  more  prisoners  of  war.  From  the  18th  of 
March  until  the  21st,  they  continued  their  wild  dash  without  halt  or 
respite.  Advances  of  twenty  and  more  miles  in  a  single  day  became 
the  norm.  On  the  18th,  19th  and  20th,  the  daily  toll  of  PWs  ran 
between  three  thousand  and  thirty-five  hundred  troops.  On  the  19th, 
the  94th  Reconnaissance  Troop  alone  accounted  for  one  thousand 
Supermen  in  addition  to  capturing  fifteen  towns.  These  headlong  on- 
slaughts of  the  motorized  spearheads  had  continued  on  the  21st  until 
the  Rhine  was  reached.  As  General  Eisenhower  anticipated,  there  was 
"another  big  bag  of  prisoners." 

During  the  last  days  of  the  advance  to  the  Rhine,  the  Germans  sent 
over  some  aircraft  to  strafe  and  harass  the  advancing  columns,  in  an 
attempt  to  slow  the  plunging  spearheads.  Just  beyond  Carlsberg,  as 
the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  was  passing  through  a  narrow  defile,  it  was 
attacked  by  several  ME-262s,  the  enemy's  super-fast,  jet-propelled 
fighters,  and  two  slower  twin-engine  ships.  The  jets  escaped  unharmed, 
but  Battery  D  of  the  465th  AAA  Battalion  scored  hits  on  the  twin- 


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motored  planes.  From  time  to  time  during  the  following  days,  enemy 
aerial  formations  numbering  as  high  as  fifteen  planes  would  appear 
suddenly  for  lightning-like  strikes.  For  the  most  part,  the  antiaircraft 
gunners  were  able  to  keep  these  fighters  and  light  bombers  at  bay. 

During  the  entire  pursuit,  the  Division  artillery  experienced  unusual 
difficulties.  Because  of  the  speed  of  the  advance,  it  was  necessary  to 
keep  reconnaissance  parties  with  the  leading  infantry  elements  at  all 
times  and  as  often  as  not,  the  artillery  battalions  were  absolutely  with- 
out infantry  protection.  Battery  B  of  the  301st  Field  Artillery  was 
even  forced  to  pull  off  the  road  on  one  occasion,  to  repulse  an  enemy 
counterattack.  Batteries  often  moved  as  many  as  four  times  a  day  and 
each  stop  meant  that  new  positions  had  to  be  prepared.  Reconnaissance 
parties  from  the  390th  Field  Artillery  captured  twenty-seven  prisoners 
at  one  time  and  twenty-one  more  on  a  second  occasion.  Another  day, 
two  batteries  of  this  battalion  took  a  wrong  turn  and  found  themselves 
in  a  fire  fight  which  resulted  in  the  capture  of  Kirkenfallenbach  along 
with  the  two  hundred  Germans  defending  the  town.  There  was  no 
ammunition  train  for  the  artillery  battalions,  as  the  trucks  normally 
used  for  this  purpose  were  hauling  infantry  units.  This  meant  that  the 
batteries  had  available  only  those  rounds  carried  on  the  prime  movers. 
Luckily,  fire  missions  requested  were  few  and  far  between.  Forward 
observers  were  rendered  practically  useless  by  the  speed  of  the  advance 
and  visual  reconnaissance  was  conducted  primarily  from  liaison  planes. 

The  speed  of  the  pursuit  was  achieved  by  pressing  into  service  every 
available  vehicle  and  loading  it  to  the  utmost.  Columns  including 
21/2-ton  trucks  (borrowed  for  the  infantry  from  within  the  division  or 
made  available  from  corps  quartermaster  truck  companies),  jeeps, 
tanks,  TDs,  half-tracks,  captured  enemy  vehicles  and  motorcycles. 
Every  mobile  vehicle  moved  east  as  fast  as  it  could  travel. 

Throughout  the  race  to  the  Rhine,  fuel  supply  was  a  critical  prob- 
lem. It  was  solved  by  quartermaster  truck  companies  which  hauled 
forward  gas,  lubricants  and  spare  parts  and  returned  loaded  with  PWs. 
Food  was  never  lacking,  for  the  forward  elements  lived  as  much  off 
the  land  as  they  did  on  the  C  and  K  rations  that  were  trucked  to  them. 

Traffic  control  along  the  routes  eastward  also  presented  tremendous 
difficulties.  For  the  most  part  the  road  net  was  poor  and  choked  with 
armor,  motorized  infantry  and  supply  convoys.  By  way  of  example, 
elements  of  five  infantry  and  five  armored  divisions,  plus  numerous 
corps  and  army  troops,  converged  on  the  city  of  Grunstadt  within  a 
48-hour  period.  Gradually,  however,  higher  headquarters  brought 
order  out  of  the  chaos. 


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Chapter  41:  LUDWIGSHAFEN 


IUDWIGSHAFEN,  with  a  prewar  population  of  approximately 
145,000,  was  the  prize  of  the  Saar  Palatinate  and  the  home  of 
-J  Germany's  greatest  chemical  plant,  /.  G.  Farben  Industrie*!.  It 
had  originally  been  assigned  as  the  objective  of  the  Seventh  Army, 
but  when  its  advance  was  slowed  by  stubborn  German  resistance  and 
the  units  to  the  north  of  XX  Corps  made  rapid  gains,  there  was  a 
general  southward  shift  of  all  objectives.  This  turn  of  events  placed 
Ludwigshafen  in  the  path  of  the  94th. 

Following  the  reduction  of  the  enemy  roadblocks  in  the  vicinity  of 
Enkenbach  on  the  20th,  those  elements  of  the  12th  Armored  Division  in 
the  zone  of  the  94th  raced  forward,  attempting  to  seize  Ludwigshafen 
by  the  same  headlong  tactic  that  had  won  city  after  city  in  the  drive  to 
the  east.  But  on  the  outskirts  of  Ludwigshafen  the  assault  stopped 
dead.  The  city  had  been  ringed  with  the  antiaircraft  guns  of  the  9th 
Flak  Division  which  protected  it  from  the  fleets  of  Allied  bombers  that 
daily  swept  the  skies  over  Germany.  These  guns  were  depressed  to 
zero  elevation  and  employed  as  direct-fire  weapons,  as  the  flak  division 
prepared  to  fight  as  infantry.  Into  the  city  had  drifted  the  remnants 
of  many  battered  German  divisions,  adding  to  the  strength  of  the 
fanatical  defenders  already  present.  Unknown  to  the  advancing  Ameri- 
can troops  was  the  fact  that  the  German  high  command  had  issued 
orders  for  the  city  to  be  defended  to  the  last  man. 

During  the  afternoon  of  the  21st,  the  376th  received  orders  moving 
its  zone  southward,  and  the  1st  Battalion  started  toward  Ludwigshafen. 
Under  the  impression  that  the  armor  had  taken  the  city,  Major  Miller's 
men  advanced  to  outpost  the  Rhine  along  the  eastern  edge  of  the  city. 
Expecting  to  encounter  only  small  delaying  forces  bypassed  by  the 
armor,  the  bone-weary  men  of  Company  A  moved  out  of  Oppau.  It 
was  a  clear  moonlit  night  and  the  column  advanced  rapidly.  The 
lead  scouts  encountered  two  large  lakes  and  started  around  the  east 
bank  of  the  one  nearest  the  Rhine.  The  3d  Platoon,  which  was  acting 
as  advance  guard,  had  rounded  the  lake  and  was  heading  for  Friesen- 
heim  when  it  was  engaged  by  machine-gun  fire  from  the  vicinity  of  a 
line  of  eleven  burnt-out  halftracks  of  the  12th  Armored  Division. 
Other  enemy  automatic  weapons  added  their  fire  and  it  was  only  after 
Staff  Sergeant  W.  F.  Pillow's  machine-gun  section  had  worked  forward 
and  gone  into  action  that  the  leading  elements  were  able  to  disengage 
themselves.  Meanwhile,  battalion  had  moved  into  Oggersheim  to  the 
southwest. 

Staff  Sergeant  Michael  Dripchak  and  his  squad  then  were  sent  for- 
ward on  reconnaissance.  They  returned  to  report  the  enemy  was  dig- 

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ging  positions  in  the  outskirts  of  the  city  at  every  point  probed  by  the 
patrol.  At  2300  hours  Company  C  dispatched  Staff  Sergeant  Robert  E. 
Trefzger's  squad  of  the  3d  Platoon  to  Friesenheim.  This  patrol  was 
to  infiltrate  into  town,  then  send  back  two  guides  to  bring  forward 
the  rest  of  the  company.  The  squad  slipped  across  the  level,  open 
ground  west  of  Friesenheim  and  repeatedly  attempted  to  infiltrate  the 
enemy  lines.  Each  effort  was  stopped  by  fire.  Three  hours  later  the 
patrol  returned  to  report  its  failure.  Staff  Sergeant  Donald  J.  Gary's 
squad  was  immediately  sent  forward  with  the  same  mission.  This 
third  patrol  encountered  a  launching  track  for  radio-controlled  V-ls, 
and  was  brought  under  fire  by  enemy  positions  around  the  installation. 
With  no  better  results,  the  squad  pulled  back  and  made  other  attempts 
along  the  enemy  line.  Following  this,  the  patrol  rejoined  the  rest  of 
the  platoon  in  the  vicinity  of  the  lake  and  the  unit  withdrew  to 
Oggersheim. 

To  the  north,  in  the  zone  of  the  302d  Infantry,  there  was  patrol 
activity  of  another  sort  during  the  early  hours  of  the  22d.  At  about 
0200  hours,  an  enemy  party  crossed  the  Rhine  in  rubber  boats  in  the 
vicinity  of  Bobenheim,  and  landed  in  Company  Cs  sector.  The  enemy 
group  then  split,  moving  against  the  strongpoint  which  had  been  estab- 
lished around  a  frozen-foods  factory.  One  segment  of  the  German 
patrol  opened  fire  with  Panzerfausts  and  machine  pistols  on  a  small 
stone  building  occupied  by  part  of  the  light-machine-gun  section.  A 
second  element  of  the  German  force  worked  along  a  shallow,  muddy 
ditch  toward  the  company  command  post  and  the  positions  of  the 
mortar  section.  With  the  discovery  that  there  was  an  enemy  patrol 
in  the  area,  a  reserve  squad  was  ordered  to  search  the  rear  of  the  posi- 
tion. As  this  group  moved  out  it  was  engaged  by  an  enemy  automatic 
weapon.  In  the  CP,  almost  simultaneous  with  this  burst  of  fire,  there 
was  a  low  whistle  over  the  sound-powered  telephone  connected  with 
the  mortar  position.  At  the  far  end  of  the  line,  Private  First  Class 
Junior  R.  Vanderpool  whispered:  "Don't  get  me  wrong,  I'm  not  scared 
but  could  you  please  send  me  a  couple  of  riflemen  ?  There's  a  Kraut 
about  thirty  yards  to  my  front  shooting  at  me  with  a  machine  gun." 
The  desired  support  was  dispatched  and  after  a  short  fire  fight,  the 
enemy  withdrew  to  the  river  and  recrossed,  abandoning  their  casualties. 

During  the  night,  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  moved  into  Oggersheim 
and  laid  plans  for  a  coordinated  attack  against  Friesenheim.  Sergeant 
Levi  W.  Albair  of  Company  C  led  another  patrol  at  0700  hours  to 


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.......  „       .  .   ..  .  ..  ....  ,.  ...  -.1     '•  .  ••'      '       •        ■     .  \ 

further  probe  the enemy Jrten.se* ..in  an  attest  to  iocare  sime  of  rbeir 
close-support  weapons;  Tlx-  route  chosen  was  along  the  railroad  tracks 


mm) 


at^ckin.u  force  pushed  ro  ;hc  g§|  but  .  were 
strapped  m  the open  aaul  unable  to continue  the  advance;.  *>?em.y  mor 
tars  and  artillery  i\iinedi  upon  them.  if/Hlcfijie  tauvy  casualties.  The 

■*  s< Mtnt"  ei^hi  mc fres  belo*  the 
i  »  a  w. 


ma.fchi«£  fire.,  they  advanced  in  the  face  of  the  enemy  weapons  and 


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435 


tense  and  progress  slow,  but  seven  houses  and  sixty-four  prisoners  were 
taken  before  the  assault  was  stalled  by  German  defensive  fires.  Ameri- 
can mortars  and  artillery  worked  on  the  enemy  positions  within  the 
town  unceasingly;  at  1400  hours  the  2d  Platoon  of  Company  A  and 
the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  C  jumped  off  in  a  continuation  of  the 
attack.  They  assaulted  the  buildings  from  which  the  first  wave  had 
received  so  much  fire  and  after  a  bitter  struggle  won  the  position. 
From  house  to  house  the  advance  continued.  To  assist  the  infantry, 
five  medium  tanks  of  the  12th  Armored  Division  came  forward  and 
in  short  order,  the  88s  and  tankers  were  engaged  in  private  duels.  As 
soon  as  an  enemy  antitank  gun  would  reveal  its  position  by  engaging 
one  of  the  armored  vehicles,  an  artillery  concentration  was  placed  on 
the  gun  position.  By  darkness,  several  blocks  in  Friesenheim  had  been 
cleared  by  these  infantry-artillery-tank  tactics.  Plans  were  then  laid 
for  a  continuation  of  the  attack  in  the  morning  and  a  perimeter  defense 
established  for  the  night. 

During  the  afternoon,  the  right  flank  of  the  battalion  had  been  pro- 
tected by  the  3d  Platoon  of  Company  B,  which  had  moved  along  the 
railroad  tracks  to  assume  the  required  positions.  Throughout  this 
action  Company  B  was  aware  of  the  volume  of  fire  being  directed 
against  the  attacking  companies,,  but  was  unable  to  locate  accurately 
any  of  the  German  pieces  responsible  for  it.  Hence,  Staff  Sergeant 
Edward  W.  Rose  and  his  squad  moved  from  cover  for  the  express 
purpose  of  drawing  fire.  In  this  manner  the  squad  located  several 
enemy  guns,  of  which  three  were  destroyed  by  artillery  fire. 

On  the  afternoon  of  the  22d,  Division  Headquarters  received  orders 
to  clear  Ludwigshafen  with  all  possible  speed.  A  task  force  consisting 
of  the  376th  Infantry;  CCA  of  the  12th  Armored  Division;  Company 
B,  774th  TD  Battalion;  Battery  D  of  the  465th  AAA  Battalion;  and 
Company  B  (less  one  platoon),  81st  Chemical  Mortar  Battalion  was 
organized  and  placed  under  the  command  of  General  Cheadle,  Assist- 
ant Division  Commander.  At  about  the  same  time,  the  12th  Armored 
Division  less  CCA,  and  the  10th  Armored  Division  were  ordered  to 
move  south  and  gain  contact  with  the  Seventh  Army. 

It  was  apparent  by  this  time  that  the  fight  for  Ludwigshafen  was 
going  to  be  a  bloody  affair.  General  Malony  called  Colonel  Hagerty 
forward,  then  sent  him  to  confer  with  the  task  force  commander  and 
Lieutenant  Colonel  Anderson  of  the  376th  in  regard  to  possible  com- 
mitment of  elements  of  the  301st  Infantry  in  the  battle  for  the  city. 

During  the  early  hours  of  the  22d,  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  moved 


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437 


pushed  north.  Late  in  the  afternoon  it  became  necessary  to  commit 
Company  E  to  assist  in  clearing  the  last  enemy  resistance  from  the 
northwest  corner  of  the  city. 

In  Hochfeld,  Company  G  encountered  bitter  opposition  all  through 
the  day,  as  this  city  was  one  of  the  key  points  in  the  defenses  of 
Ludwigshafen.  It  secured  a  toe-hold  in  the  southwest  corner  of  town 
but  was  unable  to  expand  this.  At  dark  the  company  established  a 
perimeter  defense. 

During  the  night,  Lieutenant  Walter  E.  Hostetler  and  an  eight-man 
patrol  moved  forward  to  destroy  an  88mm  gun  located  approximately 
one  thousand  yards  behind  the  enemy  lines;  this  weapon  covered  the 
highway  leading  into  Mundenheim.  After  several  attempts  to  infiltrate 
the  enemy  lines  had  failed,  Private  First  Class  Brooks  A.  Mosblech 
approached  an  enemy  outpost  and  succeeded  in  talking  the  two  Ger- 
mans manning  it  into  surrendering.  Taking  one  of  the  POWs  with 
him,  Mosblech  moved  forward  to  repeat  the  process.  There  were 
sounds  of  a  scuffle  in  the  darkness  and,  as  the  rest  of  the  patrol  rushed 
to  the  assistance  of  its  surrender  emissary,  it  was  met  with  heavy 
small-arms  fire.  Two  of  the  group  were  seriously  wounded  and  the 
patrol  withdrew,  carrying  off  its  casualties. 

The  3d  Battalion,  376th,  moved  into  Oggersheim  around  noon  of 
the  2 2d  and  Lieutenant  Colonel  Thurston  immediately  proceeded  to 
Maudach  to  contact  the  2d  Battalion.  Orders  called  for  the  3d  Bat- 
talion to  attack  the  following  morning  and  seize  the  factory  area  north- 
east of  Rheingonheim.  Once  this  area  had  been  cleared,  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Thurston's  men  were  to  push  north  against  Mundenheim.  At 
the  same  time  the  2d  Battalion,  376th,  would  attack  eastward  from 
Hochfeld  while,  to  the  north,  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  would  press  the 
attack  against  Friesenheim. 

From  the  west,  at  0530  hours  on  the  23d,  Company  E  of  the  376th 
moved  against  Mundenheim.  The  company  was  subjected  to  accurate 
artillery  concentrations  and  the  direct  fire  of  well  emplaced  88mm 
guns.  Casualties  in  the  1st  and  2d  Platoons  were  extremely  heavy  and 
in  a  short  time  both  units  were  down  to  half  strength.  As  the  3d 
Platoon  was  committed  on  the  left  along  the  railroad  tracks  connecting 
Hochfeld  and  Mundenheim,  an  enemy  artillery  shell  hit  one  of  the 
boxcars  on  the  tracks.  Within  a  few  seconds,  eight  carloads  of  artil- 
lery ammunition  were  filling  the  air  with  jagged  fragments  of  steel. 
When  the  ammunition  had  exhausted  itself,  Technical  Sergeant 
Anthony  S.  Rao's  3d  Platoon  flanked  the  opposition  delaying  the  rest 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


of  the  company.  The  advance  into  Mundenheim  continued  with  over 
two  hundred  prisoners  being  taken. 

Company  I  led  the  3d  Battalion's  attack  at  0700  hours  against  the 
factory  area  below  Mundenheim.  Commanded  by  Lieutenant  Bernard 
B.  Cohen,  the  3d  Platoon  encountered  stiff  automatic-weapons  fire 
which  it  overwhelmed  in  a  bold  assault  employing  marching  fire. 
Then,  the  entire  company  pushed  into  the  factory  area,  while  under 
heavy  artillery  fire  from  across  the  river,  and  rounded  up  several  hun- 
dred civilians. 

At  0900  hours  the  entire  battalion  moved  against  Mundenheim  from 
the  south.  The  attack  of  Company  E  earlier  in  the  morning  had  elimi- 
nated resistance  west  of  the  main  road  between  Rheingonheim  and 
Mundenheim,  but  the  enemy  defenses  south  of  the  latter  town  were 
still  intact.  Supported  by  tanks  of  CCA  of  12th  Armored  Division 
and  with  American  artillery  and  mortars  raining  on  the  enemy  posi- 
tions, the  attack  met  little  resistance.  By  1100  hours  all  three  rifle 
companies  were  in  the  outskirts  of  town  and  pushing  toward  the  center 
of  Mundenheim,  along  with  the  men  of  the  2d  Battalion.  The  town 
was  in  American  hands  at  1400  hours.  Preparations  for  the  continua- 
tion of  the  attack  into  Ludwigshafen  were  made  at  once. 

Companies  K  and  L  made  slow  progress  against  the  positions  to 
their  front,  while  Company  I,  advancing  in  the  zone  next  to  the  river, 
moved  into  Ludwigshafen  without  a  great  deal  of  opposition.  Soon 
the  right  assault  company  was  far  in  advance  of  the  battalion,  re- 
ceiving enemy  fire  from  three  sides.  It  forged  ahead  slowly  during 
the  afternoon  and  had  reached  a  carbarn  within  the  city  when  ordered 
to  stand  fast  until  the  rest  of  the  battalion  came  abreast. 

All  through  the  day,  enemy  artillery  fire  in  the  area  as  far  west  as 
Oggersheim  was  extremely  accurate.  'Again  and  again,  concentrations 
landed  at  the  right  spot  at  exactly  the  right  time.  There  were  German 
civilians  everywhere  and  without  a  doubt  some  of  them  were  acting 
as  observers  for  the  enemy  guns  across  the  Rhine.  During  the  opera- 
tion, the  Luftwaffe  was  also  active.  The  465th  AAA  Battalion  had  a 
busy  time  keeping  the  German  planes  at  bay. 

At  0705  hours  on  the  23d,  with  all  three  companies  abreast,  the  1st 
Battalion,  376th,  attacked  to  clear  Friesenheim.  Companies  B  and  C 
advanced  rapidly  against  occasional  sniper  and  artillery  fire.  Through- 
out the  day,  Company  A  on  the  south  received  automatic  and  20mm 
gun  fire  from  its  right  flank.  While  attempting  to  locate  the  enemy 
gun  positions  responsible  for  this  fire.  Technical  Sergeant  Leon  D. 


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439 


Crutchfield  was  hit  and  mortally  wounded.  A  tank  was  brought  for- 
ward about  this  time  and  with  its  assistance  the  advance  was  speeded 
materially. 

Because  of  the  immense  size  of  Ludwigshafen  and  its  suburbs, 
General  Malony  decided  to  commit  the  301st  Infantry  to  hasten  the 
fall  of  the  city.  Consequently,  Task  Force  Cheadle  was  dissolved  at 
1800  hours  on  the  23d  and  Division  assumed  control  of  the  operation 
from  a  forward  CP  at  Oggersheim.  The  city  was  split  into  a  northern 
and  southern  zone  of  action,  with  the  dividing  line  running  along  the 
railroad  tracks  which  bisected  Ludwigshafen.  In  the  southern  sector, 
the  376th  Infantry  was  to  continue  the  attack  while  the  301st,  less  the 
3d  Battalion,  which  was  on  alert  for  a  special  SHAEF  guard  mission 
and  consequently  not  available  for  the  fighting,  assumed  control  in  the 
north.  Both  regiments  were  ordered  to  push  toward  the  center  of  the 
city  and  complete  its  reduction  and  occupation  with  all  possible  speed. 
During  the  change  of  sectors,  and  prior  to  his  relief  by  the  301st 
Infantry,  Major  Miller  was  placed  in  charge  of  the  northern  sector. 

The  1st  Battalion,  301st,  moved  from  Leistadt  to  Oppau  on  the 
afternoon  of  the  23d  and  the  battalion  commander  immediately  pro- 
ceeded to  Oggersheim  for  his  orders.  After  contacting  General  Cheadle 
and  Colonel  Hagerty,  the  CO  of  the  1st  Battalion  returned  to  Oppau; 
at  1815  hours  the  battalion  passed  through  the  lines  of  the  3d  Bat- 
talion, 302d,  to  attack  south.  Company  C,  on  the  battalion  left,  moved 
along  the  river  while  Companies  B  and  A  were  abreast,  to  the  right, 
in  that  order.  All  three  units  had  a  section  of  HMGs  attached  with 
the  remaining  section  given  the  mission  of  protecting  the  battalion  CP. 
The  81s  were  left  in  the  zone  of  the  3d  Battalion,  302d,  under  orders 
to  fire  only  on  definitely  located  targets. 

Through  a  maze  of  factories  and  warehouses,  the  battalion  pushed 
forward  against  light  resistance.  With  the  coming  of  darkness,  control 
became  extremely  difficult.  Due  to  the  mass  of  structural  metal  within 
the  city,  radios  were  of  little  help.  Contact  was  maintained  by  patrols 
which  repeatedly  became  lost  in  the  vast,  bombed-out  area.  There 
were  few  landmarks  and  the  factories  were  of  such  size,  in  some  cases, 
that  whole  companies  could  have  been  employed  in  the  search  of  a 
single  installation.  In  addition,  the  area  was  interwoven  with  pillboxes, 
bunkers,  strongpoints  and  gun  positions.  Company  C  encountered  one 
such  strongpoint  about  2100  hours  and  caught  the  Germans  coming 
out  of  a  bunker  to  man  their  positions.  Twenty-five  prisoners  were 


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- 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


mmmm 


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6 


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UNIVERSITY  OF  MICHIGAN 


THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


the  enemy  was  attempting  to  evacuate  as  many  troops  as  possible  from 
the  besieged  city.  The  defend-to-the-death  orders  had  been  counter- 
manded. 

At  0600  hours  the  1st  Battalion  resumed  its  advance,  as  the  last  of 
the  enemy  opposition  began  to  crumble.  Assault  companies  surged 
forward  all  along  the  line.  By  0820  hours,  Lieutenant  Colonel  Hodges' 
men  reached  the  railroad  tracks  and  made  contact  with  the  376th 
Infantry  shortly  thereafter.  Without  incident  the  I.  G.  Farben  plant 
was  cleared  and  the  troops  began  hunting  snipers.  Civilians  milling 
in  the  streets  presented  a  considerable  problem,  and  enemy  artillery 
fire  continued  to  fall  in  the  area  from  Mannheim,  directly  across  the 
river.  It  was  at  this  time  that  the  rumors,  which  had  repeatedly  swept 
through  the  forces  fighting  in  the  city,  concerning  a  six  lane  tunnel 
under  the  Rhine  connecting  Ludwigshafen  with  Mannheim,  reportedly 
bigger  and  better  than  the  Holland  Tunnel  between  New  Jersey  and 
New  York,  were  exploded. 

The  2d  Battalion,  301st,  had  arrived  in  Oggersheim  at  1500  hours 
on  the  23d.  At  0145  hours  the  following  morning,  Lieutenant  Colonel 
Brumley's  men  passed  through  the  1st  Battalion,  376th,  with  Company 
E  on  the  left,  Company  G  in  the  center  and  Company  F  on  the  right. 
Company  E  moved  past  a  hospital  and  across  an  open  park,  taking  a 
large  bunker  which  was  found  to  contain  1,800  civilians.  The  2d  Bat- 
talion was  charged  with  making  contact  with  the  1st  Battalion,  301st, 
whose  exact  whereabouts  were  unknown.  In  the  gutted  ruins  and  hills 
of  rubble  within  the  city,  whole  streets  had  disappeared  and  pinpoint- 
ing a  location  was  extremely  difficult  in  the  day  time,  while  impossible 
at  night.  Hence,  the  required  contact  was  not  made  until  0700  hours. 
One  hour  later,  the  leading  elements  of  the  battalion  closed  on  the 
railroad  tracks.  A  patrol  under  Technical  Sergeant  Elbert  R.  Freeman 
continued  forward.  It  soon  established  contact  with  Company  F  of 
the  376th  Infantry. 

The  2d  Battalion,  376th,  reported  that  it  had  been  held  up  about 
dusk  the  evening  before  by  heavy  fire  in  the  southern  edge  of  Ludwigs- 
hafen. The  companies,  which  had  become  widely  scattered  in  clearing 
the  city,  established  perimeter  defenses,  then  settled  down  for  the  night. 
Since  the  whereabouts  of  the  other  companies  of  the  battalion  were 
unknown,  the  CO  of  Company  F  issued  orders  to  fire  only  in  self  de- 
fense. Patrols  managed  to  contact  Company  E  on  the  right  eventually, 
but  Company  G  still  farther  to  the  right  could  not  be  located.  Thus 
the  night  passed.  At  dawn,  other  patrols  were  sent  forward.  They 


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443 


reported  the  enemy  had  withdrawn.  Immediately,  the  advance  was 
resumed. 

The  3d  Battalion,  376th,  spent  the  night  of  the  23d  in  the  south- 
eastern corner  of  Ludwigshafen.  Patrols  to  the  front  constantly  en- 
countered roadblocks  and  the  engineers  were  called  upon  to  clear  these 
obstacles  while  civilians  were  put  to  work  moving  rubble  from  the 
streets.  At  0630  hours  the  battalion  jumped  off  again  with  the  leading 
platoon  of  each  company  mounted  on  tanks.  Companies  K  and  L 
encountered  only  light  resistance  and  a  patrol  from  Company  L  under 
Staff  Sergeant  John  R.  Milroy  made  contact  with  the  1st  Battalion 
301st,  on  the  far  side  of  the  tracks.  Company  I  had  a  more  difficult 
time,  being  delayed  by  roadblocks. 

After  being  passed  through  by  the  2d  Battalion,  301st,  the  1st  Bat- 
talion, 376th,  moved  to  Oggersheim  where  it  closed  at  0405  hours  on 
the  24th.  After  a  short  rest  the  troops  were  moved  to  Mundenheim, 
but  by  this  time  Ludwigshafen  had  fallen. 

Most  of  the  units  within  the  city  spent  the  day  of  the  24th  hunting 
snipers  and  mopping  up  bypassed  groups  of  fanatics  who  refused  to 
surrender.  Throughout  the  area,  it  was  later  discovered,  many  German 
soldiers  had  donned  civilian  clothing  to  avoid  capture.  So  great  was 
the  population  of  this  vast  industrial  area,  and  so  few  the  available 
CIC  personnel,  it  proved  impossible  to  check  all  civilians.  Only 
suspicious  characters  were  picked  up  for  questioning.  To  prevent 
Wehrmacht  deserters  from  causing  trouble  or  committing  acts  of  sabo- 
tage, dismounted,  motorized  and  armored  patrols  constantly  roamed 
the  streets,  adhering  to  no  fixed  schedule. 

Meanwhile,  units  of  the  Seventh  Army  had  been  streaming  toward 
the  Rhine  all  during  the  fighting  in  Ludwigshafen.  One  motor  column 
of  the  100th  Division,  stopped  at  Oggersheim  by  personnel  of  the 
94th  on  the  23d,  explained  that  they  were  en  route  to  Ludwigshafen. 
The  column  commander  was  exceedingly  surprised  to  learn  that  the 
city  had  not  yet  fallen.  Certain  motorized  elements  of  the  3d  Division 
also  had  to  be  halted  when  they  were  about  to  run  afoul  of  a  nest 
of  88s. 

A  message  received  from  General  Walker,  the  corps  commander 
called  the  capture  of  Ludwigshafen  "a  fitting  climax  to  the  spectacular 
drive  of  the  division/'  During  the  twelve  days,  March  13-24,  1945, 
the  94th  Infantry  Division  with  its  attachments  broke  through  the 
enemy  lines  east  of  the  Saar  River,  overran  all  hostile  resistance  and 


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445 


actually  spearheaded  the  advance  of  several  American  divisions  over 
one  hundred  miles  of  German  soil  to  the  Rhine  River.  During  this 
drive  large  amounts  of  enemy  supplies  and  materiel  were  captured  or 
destroyed.  Elements  of  eighteen  separate  German  divisions  were  en- 
countered and  the  men  of  the  94th  assisted  materially  in  the  annihila- 
tion of  more  than  a  few  of  these  units.  The  Division  took  over  two 
hundred  towns  and  with  the  assistance  of  CCA  of  the  12th  Armored 
Division  captured  the  key  city  of  Ludwigshafen.  During  this  same 
period,  13,434  German  prisoners  of  war  were  captured. 

During  the  action  in  Ludwigshafen,  the  302d  Infantry  improved  its 
defensive  positions  to  the  north.  The  troops  rested  and  reconditioned 
their  equipment  in  preparation  for  whatever  might  lie  ahead.  Orders 
were  not  long  in  coming.  The  94th  was  in  the  zone  of  the  Seventh 
Army  and  on  the  24th  movement  to  the  rear  began. 

The  3d  Battalion,  301st,  which  had  moved  to  regimental  reserve  at 
Oppau  was  no  longer  under  SHAEF  alert,  its  guard  mission  never 
having  materialized.  At  1300  hours  on  the  24th,  this  battalion  left  for 
Weisenheim-am-Berg  and  an  hour  and  a  half  later  was  in  its  assigned 
assembly  area.  After  being  relieved  by  elements  of  CCA  of  the  12th 
Armored  Division,  the  2d  Battalion,  301st,  moved  next.  It  assembled 
at  Bobenheim-am-Berg  at  1635  hours  while  the  remaining  battalion 
of  Colonel  Hagerty's  regiment  closed  at  Leistadt  at  1900  hours. 

The  376th  Infantry  followed,  with  its  1st  Battalion,  which  was  in 
reserve,  closing  at  Lambsheim  by  1830  hours.  After  being  relieved  by 
elements  of  the  399th  Infantry  of  the  100th  Infantry,  the  2d  Battalion 
arrived  at  Maxdorf  at  1930  hours  and  at  2030  hours,  the  3d  Battalion 
reached  Rucheim. 

The  15th  Infantry  of  the  3d  Division  relieved  the  302d,  under  the 
cover  of  darkness  which  slowed  the  operation  considerably.  By  0130 
hours  on  the  25th,  the  last  elements  had  been  relieved  and  for  the 
first  time  since  January  7  the  94th  Infantry  Division  was  out  of  con- 
tact with  the  enemy. 

Division  Headquarters  was  already  hard  at  work  on  plans  for  the 
movement  of  the  Division  to  a  rest  area  and  on  the  afternoon  of  the 
24th,  quartering  parties  left  for  Baumholder  which  the  94th  had 
captured  a  week  earlier.  Movement  of  the  94th  itself  was  complicated 
by  the  fact  that  many  divisions,  separate  battalions  and  miscellaneous 
units  were  moving  through  the  rear  areas.  Among  the  first  of  the 
above  was  the  80th  Infantry  Division,  which  had  been  on  the  right 


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THE  94th  INFANTRY  DIVISION 


flank  of  the  94th  for  most  of  the  drive  to  the  Rhine.  It  was  now  rolling 
north  behind  General  Malony's  men.  Also,  endless  convoys  of  bridg- 
ing equipment  were  cluttering  the  roads,  moving  from  the  west  toward 
the  river  in  preparation  for  the  crossing  of  Seventh  Army.  Supply 
columns,  too,  added  to  the  density  of  traffic  as  they  brought  up  food, 
ammunition,  gasoline,  and  myriad  items  needed  all  along  the  front 
and  in  Third  Army's  bridgehead  in  the  vicinity  of  Mainz.  Through 
this  criss-crossing  traffic,  the  94th  had  to  move  west  after  carefully 
coordinating  with  every  unit  moving  between  Ludwigshafen  and  Baum- 
holder.  These  complicated  arrangements  were  made  and  departures 
were  scheduled  to  begin  on  the  25th  with  the  Military  Police  Platoon 
in  charge  of  route  marking  and  traffic  control. 

With  the  coming  of  the  25th,  the  motor  columns  of  the  Division 
started  westward  with  all  antiaircraft  guns  manned  and  crews  on  the 
alert.  As  the  convoys  rolled  back  from  the  Rhine,  they  met  an  ever- 
increasing  flow  of  traffic  headed  toward  the  river.  For  the  men  of  the 
94th  all  tension  was  gone  and  life  assumed  a  more  even  tempo.  There 
was  time  to  enjoy  the  German  countryside.  It  was  quiet  and  peaceful, 
and  the  country  people  scarcely  raised  their  heads  to  watch  the  endless 
lines  of  vehicles  that  streamed  over  the  traffic-choked  roads.  Spring 
had  come  and  the  farmers  were  preparing  their  fields  for  new  crops. 
Only  signs  of  war  were  the  shattered  wreckage  of  enemy  convoys  which 
were  occasionally  encountered  in  the  ditches  along  the  roads. 

Since  a  large  part  of  the  rest  area  assigned  to  the  Division  proved  to 
be  an  old  German  range,  the  quartering  parties  had  moved  beyond  the 
assigned  zone  to  obtain  suitable  billets.  The  main  columns  of  the  94th 
began  rolling  into  Baumholder  about  noon.  Division  artillery  closed 
in  its  area  at  1330  hours.  The  Division  command  group  followed  and 
the  new  CP  opened  at  1545  hours.  Special  Units  located  in  the  vicinity 
of  Baumholder,  while  the  artillery  and  infantry  battalions  were  situ- 
ated in  the  surrounding  towns.  The  301st  Infantry  went  to  Kirchen- 
bollenbach  where  it  closed  at  1730  hours.  By  2100  hours  the  302d 
arrived  in  Enzweiler,  and  the  37